The Louis Vuitton brand is inextricably linked to stylish travel. It is famed for its advertisements featuring global superstars whose lives represent a journey: the former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev was photographed in a limousine passing a remnant of the Berlin Wall with his trusty Louis Vuitton holdall; Angelina Jolie was pictured floating down a Cambodian river with a Louis Vuitton-monogrammed tote. Muhammad Ali models in this year's campaign.
Now chic travellers will be able to sign their postcards with a stylish flourish, using the luxury pens the retailer has introduced as part of its new stationery collection.
The range made its appearance during Louis Vuitton's temporary exhibition dedicated to writing on the Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris. Next month, a separate writing boutique will open at Place Saint-Germain-des-Prés.
The area is home to Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore, two of the capital's most venerated cafes favoured at one time by philosophers and writers including Jean-Paul Sartre and Ernest Hemingway, and now by well-heeled tourists. The luxury brand's foray into stationery comes as it attempts to offset slower sales growth in Asian markets and retain its exclusive image.
The company has already launched a jewellery collection and is designing a perfume. Because the stationery selection will initially be sold only in the Paris store, the products will be highly covetable. In time, though, the brand plans to open stores celebrating writing in New York and Tokyo. The move involves Louis Vuitton taking on the likes of the pen maker Montblanc, the British retailer Smythson and Hermès, which has sought to escape takeover advances from LVMH, the world's largest luxury retailer and parent group of Louis Vuitton.
The store opens just before Christmas, and an alligator-skin fountain pen or a Baccarat crystal inkwell would surely be the ideal stocking filler.