Louis Vuitton is taking a decidedly 21st century approach to its iconic trunk, a nearly 170-year-old design known as the French luxury brand’s most historic product. Fans of the fashion house can now sign up for a chance to purchase a non-fungible token (NFT) of the trunk for $39,000.
Buyers of the virtual “VIA Treasure Trunks” will also receive a physical counterpart. Owners will be able to purchase drops of digital keys throughout the next three years to unlock undisclosed Louis Vuitton collectibles and “privileged experiences,” according to the company.
The project is a “voyage of creation with Web.3” which will take “owners on a journey unlike any other before,” said Louis Vuitton in a statement. Its use of “Via,” which means “road” in Latin, in the NFT collection’s name suggestions the venture is an exciting new voyage for the luxury brand.
Louis Vuitton’s trunks, revolutionary at the time due to their flat tops and signature waterproof coated canvas, were the first products offered by the company when it was established in the 1850s. The brand has since expanded considerably upon their luggage line, with trunks that range in price from $3,150 to $243,000 and double as dog carriers, bar storage and vanities.
Exclusive barriers to entry
The waitlist for the newest iteration of NFT trunks opened yesterday (June 8). Eligible participants must either have a cryptocurrency wallet valued at more than $1 million or that contains a digital collection valued at more than $200,000 or own collectibles from LVMH (LVMHF), other luxury fashion brands or blue-chip digital collections.
Selected participants will be informed later this month, while the first set of digital keys will be unlocked in July alongside the upcoming Louis Vuitton Men’s show from the division’s new director Pharrell Williams.
The Treasure Trunks will be “soul-bound,” according to Louis Vuitton, meaning they are “connected to your identity and cannot be sold or transferred to another person.” The digital collectibles will utilize the Aura Blockchain Consortium, the first-ever luxury blockchain, launched by Louis Vuitton’s parent company LVMH alongside founding partners like Cartier and Mercedes Benz in 2021.
To address issues of authenticity and rampant counterfeit products, Aura matches product IDs to client IDs in addition to providing information on where specific products were made, what materials were used in its manufacturing and how many of the same items were created.
The blockchain creates a “digital twin” for its registered luxury products and can verify authenticity of items through user-uploaded images. As of 2022, Aura is used by more than 20 brands with more than 17 million products registered on the blockchain.
What is LVMH’s history with NFTs?
Bernard Arnault, the billionaire CEO of LVMH, has previously expressed skepticism towards the world of NFTs and the metaverse. “We are not interested in selling a pair of virtual sneakers for 10 euros,” he said during a January earnings call.
But the LVMH head appears to have taken a more liberal approach to Web.3 in recent months and has even begun accumulating his own collection of NFTs.
Before Treasure Trunks, Louis Vuitton experimented with digital collectibles designed by NFT artist Beeple through its mobile game “Louis the Game.” Other LVMH-owned brands like Fendi, which released accessories for a cryptocurrency wallet, and Tiffany & Co, which produced jewelry inspired by the CryptoPunk NFT collection, have also joined in.
Luxury brands are increasingly incorporating aspects of the metaverse or NFTs throughout their products and partnerships, with companies such as Givenchy and Balmain launching digital collections with partners like artist Chito and Barbie manufacturer Mattel. Burberry has ventured into an NFT-based game alongside technology company Mythical Games, while Dolce & Gabbana has been involved with NTFs since 2021, when it sold a collection of nine digital collectibles for nearly $5.7 million.