After our recent piece A Short Homage to Louis Vuitton Epi Leather, I was keen to go a step further and dedicate some time to one of my favourite Epi leather designs, the early nineties Petit Noé.
I say early nineties because those probably have the best price-to-quality ratio you can find. Like other Louis Vuitton bag lovers, I believe the brand’s earlier luggage was made to better standards and, despite some vintage and pre-loved pieces having some leather cracks in places, due to the robustness of Epi leather there are many out there in near-perfect condition.
As with the Speedy, the Alma and the Keepall, the Noé comes from a generation when Louis Vuitton was at its creative best, the ‘30s. The story of its creation is as cute as its looks. It goes that, in 1932, Gaston-Louis Vuitton was asked to make a bag for carrying five bottles of Champagne. His idea was a square design, semi-rigid at the bottom and loose at the top, which could fit four upright bottles and another perched upside-down in the middle. The drawstring allowed the bubbly guzzler to secure the bottles and prevent them from clanging all the way to the party.
Noé is Latin for Noah, who as it turns out developed a strong taste for vino after his ark voyage. In the Bible, Noah was in fact the first-ever wine drinker. The original Noé bag was champagne coloured but it was soon reimagined in a slew of different hues and, of course, was also given the Monogram treatment.
It’s brother, the Petit Noé, was introduced later on. It’s a spitting image but as can be guessed from the name it’s slightly smaller. Also, it comes with a shoulder carry strap. Today, the Noé line has four other versions, the Petit Noé NM, Noé BB, Nano Noé, and Noé Marin, which are different sizes with different strap options that can be worn across body, under the shoulder, or carried with a handle.
For me the Petit Noé is the perfect size. Although I haven’t yet tried to use it for hitting a party with a generous fizzy contribution, I have used it for gym clothes or daily essentials. It looks great with casual dress and can even add a funky twist to an office get-up.
To view a selection of pre-loved and vintage Louis Vuitton Noés, click here. For other pre-owned classic bags including Hermès, Chanel and Céline, click here.