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One of Louis Vuitton’s most iconic fabric designs, the Damier Canvas chequers frequently appear in new seasonal collections across a range of products. Louis Vuitton handbags, purses, skirts and shoes have all been adorned in the simplistic yet historic chequerboard pattern.

Below we uncover the history and characteristics of the Louis Vuitton Damier Canvas used across the brand’s handbags — from its colour variations to its debut and durability.

When was the Louis Vuitton Damier Canvas first created?

The Damier Canvas was created by Louis Vuitton and his son Georges in 1888. It first appeared on luggage trunks in 1889 and has since been a valuable part of the Louis Vuitton brand.

Many people believe that the Monogram canvas is the oldest Louis Vuitton pattern, however it was the chequered pattern of alternating squares in two shades of brown of the Damier canvas that was created first. This was then joined by the classic Louis Vuitton Monogram canvas in 1896.

An old advertisement displaying various Louis Vuitton trunks, two have the classic Damier Canvas design.

It wasn’t until 1998 when Louis Vuitton reintroduced the brown chequered Damier pattern that it was known under a new name — the Damier Ebene.

Damier Azur followed in 2006, and the Damier Graphite design was then introduced in 2008, 120 years after the debut of the original Damier pattern.

Some of the most iconic Louis Vuitton fabric designs and the year they were created.

Is the Louis Vuitton Damier Canvas a type of leather?

One of the most frequently asked questions about the Damier Canvas is if it’s a type of leather. Damier canvas mimics the grained texture and appearance of leather, however, it is actually a coated cotton canvas fabric. Each reel of cotton canvas has been treated with a Polyvinyl Chloride coating.

This brings the question of durability into the equation when buying a Louis Vuitton bag. Is coated canvas better than other Louis Vuitton leathers? Because of this coating, the Damier canvas is less likely to scratch or stain when compared to a handbag with lots of natural leather.

A pre-loved Louis Vuitton purse in the Damier Ebene canvas that resembles the grained texture of leather | Timeless Vintage

Is the Louis Vuitton Damier Canvas durable?

The Damier coated canvas is definitely a durable material. Its vinyl coating gives the added bonus of water resistance. Because of this coating, it also holds its original shape and structure very well compared to leather.

Also, compared to untreated cowhide leather, the coated canvas is much more scratch-resistant, so general wear and tear is less obvious. This is ideal if you have future plans to sell your designer handbag.

How many Damier Canvas colour variations are there?

There are currently 3 colour ways of the Damier coated canvas design frequently used on Louis Vuitton handbags.

  • Damier Ebene
  • Damier Azur
  • Damier Graphite

Other Damier pattern variations include the Damier Stripes Canvas. There is also the Damier Infini fabric, however, this is actually cowhide leather embossed with the Damier chequerboard pattern. This Damier Infini leather is available in a range of specific designs including Damier Infini Onyx and Damier Infini Astral Silver.

The Damier design has also been applied to various clothing items and accessories, from shirts and scarves to belts and bracelets. Currently, the Damier Ebene, Damier Azur, and Damier Graphite are the most commonly used Damier designs on Louis Vuitton bags and purses.

A close-up of the chequered Louis Vuitton Damier canvases.
Damier Ebene, Damier Azur and Damier Graphite canvases from Louis Vuitton.

Which is best: Damier Ebene or Damier Azur Canvas?

We’ve actually created a Damier Ebene vs Damier Azur article which cross-compares both colour ways. Each has its own unique pros and cons — whether you prefer the historic Damier Ebene or the refreshingly summery Damier Azur.

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