Vuitton shoe trunk c1920, open and shut, Pullman Gallery
Jared Stern noted that the price of this very desirable collectible was high because the trunk embodied the glamour and sophistication of a more elegant era, when such items were de rigeur for wealthy travellers. Featuring the iconic LV monogram on its canvas-upholstered frame, the trunk was fully outfitted for most meticulous fashion plate. It contained compartments for 30 pairs of shoes in individual shoe boxes, with ancillary drawers and trays for a shoe-cleaning kit. Each of the padded drawers featured a leather pull tab and nameplate.
Mabel Normand's trunk with shoe shelf, 1922, Live Auctioneers.
Alas I didn't remember who Mabel Normand (1892–1930) was. She was an American silent film comedienne and actress. She was a popular star of Mack Sennett's Keystone Studios, co-starring in dozens of successful films with Charlie Chaplin and Fattie Arbuckle. At the height of her career in the late 1910s and early 1920s, Normand had her own movie studio and production company. In her short but fabulous career, she must have travelled in great comfort. The White Star shipping line, for example, has a record of Mabel sailing first class on the Aquitania in June 1922.
The ship Aquitania was the last-word in luxury with its Egyptian swimming pool, Elizabethan grill room, Louis XVI restaurant, Carolingian smoking room and Greek lounge. Louis Vuitton luggage would have felt right at home amongst all that luxury. But while the Pullman Gallery shoe trunk could hold 30 pairs of shoes, Mabel Normand's trunk seems as if it had dedicated space for only 6 pairs of shoes. Perhaps Hollywood stars couldn't command the same earning power back in the early 20s as they can today. In any case, how many pairs of shoes did a star need to take on a trip across the Atlantic?