The Louis Vuitton Speedy is probably one of the bags that are most familiar to all of us, given its popularity. Ask anyone what their first designer bag was, and a high percentage of the time, they’d tell you it was the Speedy.
The Speedy was designed in 1930 as a smaller interpretation of the extremely popular Keepall bag. The bag marks a turning point in the history of Louis Vuitton, as the Speedy was in fact the very first handbag from the fashion house. While the Keepall was mainly intended for the globetrotting elite, the Speedy was designed for everyday use.
Shortly after its introduction, it was referred to as the Speedy, thanks to the desire to live the fast-paced lifestyle back then. The Speedy was first introduced in plain canvas, with Toron handles in natural cowhide leather.
About a year after its debut, Vuitton produced the Speedy in Monogram Canvas.
Back then, the Speedy was available in three sizes (30, 35, and 40). The original size of the Speedy is 30 cm, which makes it manageable yet still roomy.
At the request of Audrey Hepburn, Louis Vuitton introduced a smaller version of 25 cm, which is still a very popular size today. Nowadays, the bag is also available in 35 and 40 cm. The classic version of the bag consists mainly of sturdy canvas with leather handles, which over the years darken to a full patina. In addition, the canvas is waterproof, remains scratch-free and does not tear, the ideal material for a ‘heavy duty’ bag.
Throughout the years, the Speedy became a staple, being the first to become available in Epi leather, then the Damier canvas, Mini Lin (now discontinued), Monogram Empriente, Suhali leather, as well as other Limited Edition versions, including: Limited Edition versions by Stephen Sprouse, Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince, Yayoi Kusama, Kansai Yamamoto, as part of the personalisable Mon Monogram range, as well as other seasonal variations.
The Sofia Coppola version of the bag, known as the SC Bag, which is a melding of design elements of both the Speedy and the Keepall, became a part of the family in 2010. In 2011, Vuitton added a variation of the bag called the Speedy Bandoulière; the miniature Nano size in 2015, and most recently launched as part of the Spring/Summer 18 season, the Speedy Doctor.
With such a storied heritage that goes back to the late-19th century, it’s no wonder that Vuitton calls the Speedy one of its most notable bags.