Design Journey: A Look at Louis Vuitton's Approach to Exotic Skins - Lookbook

The French luxury house believes that working with exotics is an adventure in itself.

Crocodilian skins are exclusive and precious materials that Louis Vuitton uses in crafting their sought-after pieces.

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As the skins are tanned, their “destiny” is determined: what design of bag best suits the natural pattern of scales, and what color and what finish awaits its surface.

The French luxury house believes that working with exotics is an adventure in itself, a thrilling exploration of new ways—through colors, treatments and innovations—to excite the imagination. 

The colors are meticulously adjusted until obtaining the right tone and deepness. While the house also offers exotic skins in their classic finishes, it is willing to experiment and is constantly developing new and radical treatments that rejuvenate exotics for the contemporary landscape.

Many of these distinctive and innovative bespoke finishes are unique to Louis Vuitton. A landmark treatment called Fusion that has already become a Louis Vuitton signature is the brushing in of lines of color to create a subtle lateral striped effect.

It takes 6 to 8 weeks to tan a crocodilian skin, depending on its nature and size. And a further six weeks to color, nourish and buff the surface before the process of crafting the bag can begin.

On average, 15 different trials are carried out to develop the perfect dye recipe in order to match the color specified by the Louis Vuitton design team.

Four hours are necessary for the making-of a handle of a Capucines bag.

Each skin is picked to ensure a continuity of scale pattern at the point where the edges of each bag meet, and then the treatments must be carefully executed to ensure the color and luster of each surface matches precisely.

It takes 350 different steps to create a bag in exotic leather from the selection of the skin to its final control.

The Agate stone used to hand-buff each skin to create a glazed finish must be polished every two days to keep its surface perfectly smooth.

Louis Vuitton exotic bags are available in a permanent palette of 25 shiny colors and four mat colors, with further options available seasonally.

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