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 register for a chance to buy 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 digital key drops over the next three years to unlock undisclosed Louis Vuitton collectibles and “privileged experiences,” according to the company.
The project is a “journey of creation with Web.3” that will take “owners on a journey unlike any before,” Louis Vuitton said in a statement. The use of “Via”, which means “way” in Latin, in the NFT collection’s name proposal is the venture an exciting new journey 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 on their luggage line, with trunks ranging in price from $3,150 to $243,000 and doubling as dog carriers, bar storage and vanity units.
Exclusive access barriers
The waiting list for the newest iteration of NFT trunks opened yesterday (June 8). Eligible participants must either have a cryptocurrency wallet worth more than $1 million or contain a digital collection worth more than $200,000 or own collectibles from LVMH, 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.
Treasure Trunks will be “soul-bound,” according to Louis Vuitton, meaning they are “linked to your identity and cannot be sold or transferred to another person.” The digital collectibles will use the Aura Blockchain Consortium, the first ever luxury blockchain, launched by Louis Vuitton’s parent company LVMH alongside founders such as Cartier and Mercedes Benz in 2021.
To address issues of authenticity and widespread counterfeit products, Aura matches product IDs with client IDs as well as providing information on where specific products were made, what materials were used in production and how many of the same the goods that were made.
The blockchain creates a “digital twin” for its registered luxury products and can verify the authenticity of goods 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 about the NFT world and the metaverse. “We’re not interested in selling a pair of virtual sneakers for 10 euros,” he said during an earnings call in January.
But the LVMH boss seems to have taken a more liberal approach to Web.3 in recent months and has even started amassing 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 such as Fendi, which released accessories for a cryptocurrency wallet, and Tiffany & Co, which produced jewelry inspired by the CryptoPunk NFT collection, have also joined.
Luxury brands are increasingly incorporating aspects of the metaverse or NFTs through their products and partnerships, with companies such as Givenchy and Balmain launching digital collections with partners such as artist Chito and Barbie maker Mattel. Burberry has ventured into an NFT-based game with tech company Mythical Games, while Dolce & Gabbana has been involved in NTFs since 2021, when it sold a collection of nine digital collectibles for nearly $5.7 million.