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Louis Vuitton and Epi Leather Collections

Louis Vuitton handbags sure had their pulse on fashion's modern needs when they came out with the epi leather line in 1985. Inspired by the grain leather of the Louis Vuitton bags of the '20's, the leather is textured with horizontal threads of raised leather. It has a bunchy effect which jazzes up an otherwise quite plain leather. Somehow I always associate these LV epi leather bags, especially the red ones, with muscle, like how striated muscle looks on the less-naked skeletons in biology class. There seems to be lovely pitter patter on the origin of the word "epi." Does it come from the word skin, or from the word epithilials, which funny enough, also has a biology theme and refers to a trait of genes: no two are the same. Louis Vuitton bags do not have a monopoly on epi leather, which is produced in French mills.

I have seen several companies use it for shoes such as Converse designed by Ian Ginoza as tribute to Jack Purcell, and Gourmet II Due, who came out with an Air Jordan-y type sneaker in March. They are now expanding the use of the material by incorporating it in more street savvy sneaks. It certainly is a good choice of material for footwear, being extremely durable and water resistant. But by far, the prettiest example of the use of this leather can be found within the LV handbag collection itself. After all, we must give credit to those who started the craze.

The Petit Noé is the Louis Vuitton handbag that shows off the epi leather gloriously. Whereas the other bags in the line highlight flat portions of the fabric, the Louis Vuitton Petit Noé shows a more feminine side to it. It is in fact, a smaller-scale interpretation of the LV's famous champagne bag created in 1932. But this model, priced at $1160, is carried on the shoulder with a smooth leather adjustable strap. It has tone-on-tone microfiber lining, and silver-toned brass pieces. It comes in ivory and black, but the black reminds again of high school, but this time of the tacky girls carrying around cheap bags and wearing Bon Jovi perfume.

The ivory though, is amazing, showing off the texture and suppleness of the skin to perfection, while remaining airy and light. This is a real girl's purse, perfect for a brunch or an afternoon wedding. It even comes with a key-ring attached inside, so you don't have to go fumbling for your keys, while still carrying them discreetly. This LV epi leather bag is so recognizable among fashionistas in the know, the one place where the logo is, is almost invisible. There's just simply no need to advertise any more than that. It will be interesting to see if LV will start making their logo more pronounced in the near future, as other companies also start to cash in with the unique leather.