F is for Flight Risk: Why I Will Never Own a Louis Vuitton Keepall

by Liza Herz on 15 February 2013 · 16 comments

Louis Vuitton Keepall_vintageIt’s embarrassing walking into a hip hotel with a suitcase plastered in Hello Kitty stickers, looking like I’ve inadvertently grabbed some poor kid’s bag instead of my own. But I have a really valid reason, not just a passion for cartoon felines.

Shakira Caine_Michael Caine_Louis VuittonThe idea comes courtesy of some dimly remembered, long-ago magazine interview I read, featuring Shakira Caine, wife of actor Michael Caine and all-around glamorous traveller who spends her life going from her husband’s movie sets to red carpets to holidays in Capri.

Caine suggested covering your suitcase with kiddie stickers to prevent it being stolen. The theory is that any self-respecting thief will assume a child’s case doesn’t contain anything of value, just a lot of faded and stretched out Dora the Explorer t-shirts.

Gwyneth Paltrow_Louis Vuitton KeepallSo as much as I yearn for a battered Louis Vuitton Keepall, its originally pale leather trim aged to a warm, caramel patina, carrying one just says to the criminal population, “Hi there. This bag is full of Céline and Prada. Please, take it all.” (Note: any suitcase of mine just contains a lot of Joe Fresh, with the odd pair of nice shoes thrown in for contrast. But still.)

Regardless, I would live in constant fear of such a lovely duffle being pinched. Plus I’m too wimpy to actually carry my bag any further than the car, so I need a boring-but-functional rollie to wheel through airports.

tapestry luggageUltimately, suitcase subterfuge is just about making your gear look uninteresting to anyone on the make. Years ago at a film festival, I met a photographer who kept her expensive camera gear, not in the brushed aluminum hard cases that are de rigueur for any globe-trotting photog, but in custom-fitted burgundy floral suitcases, the sort that could belong to someone’s grandmother. A thief would take a look at those tapestry cabbage roses and assume the case was full of appliqué kitten sweaters and sensible shoes, not a canny girl’s Nikon bodies and Leica lenses. And unlike her colleagues with their cool, white metal cases, this photographer had never had a bag stolen.

But I don’t think I’m nervy enough for full-on needlepoint. In fact, I need to butch up my suitcase. Maybe I’ll add some Montréal Canadiens hockey stickers to the mix. Or a sprinkling of Spiderman.

What’s on your travel bags?

You don’t have to sport a celebrity-worthy bag to pack a carry-on like one. And if you’re on a long flight, maybe you could show your skin some TLC. We just hope you never, ever wind up sitting beside someone who does this awful thing for five hours, or who has questionable pre-travel grooming habits.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Dot and Lil 15 February 2013 at 3:40 pm

In full support of the Habs sticker idea, of course, being a true Montrealer! :)

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Liza 15 February 2013 at 3:54 pm

So out of extreme kindness, I shouldn’t mention the utter shellacking the Leafs gave the Habs last Saturday? (6-0 for those of you who missed it.)

I kind of love that we’re now discussing hockey on Beautygeeks. It demonstrates how beauty lovers really are interested in everything and open to new ideas and experiences. If you’re into beauty you’re superior in every way!

Also note: A beauty editor friend of Beautygeeks’, Angelique Martel, is a huge Habs fan and a beauty fiend. You can follow her on Twitter @AngeliqueMarte2

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YouLookHotToday 15 February 2013 at 3:59 pm

I punch a little hole in a Beanie Baby and attach that to the handle with wire. The Beanie Baby has been known to disappear but the plain boring black wheelie suitcase seems to make it every time.

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Liza 15 February 2013 at 4:10 pm

You sit around punching holes in Beanie Babies? That is very MacGyver of you. Now I want to attach toys to my wheelie. I think they’d pair so nicely with the stickers, don’t you think?

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Gaëlle 15 February 2013 at 4:08 pm

Love the sticker idea! I think I will use it myself!
I have actually refrained from getting too nice-looking luggage because I was afraid it would be stolen. Plus, they can get really dirty going in and out of planes.
I have always wondered who bought the tapestry suitcases I find so ugly. Now I understand that it is fashonistas who want to make sure their dear investments remain theirs only!

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Liza 15 February 2013 at 4:29 pm

Yes! Do it! And the actual sticker shopping is kind of fun. You get to stand there and debate the merits of Spiderman vs Barbie. Or you just get both.

And now when you see tapestry suitcases at a hotel check-out, you can imagine all the cool stuff inside them. Or maybe they really do contain appliqué kitten sweaters.

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Janine 15 February 2013 at 8:45 pm

My sis-in-law has a tapestry suitcase I borrowed for a trip once. It’s not a common luggage choice, so it was super-easy to spot at the pick-up area — another bonus.

Ooh! Liza, you think putting Hello Kitty stickers on a Louis Vuitton Keepall might do the don’t-bother-stealing-it trick?

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Liza 15 February 2013 at 9:17 pm

But if you carried a tapestry suitcase, that would make it chic. Well reverse chic. And then the whole argument would fall apart.

Stickers on an LV Keepall (the 55cm size with shoulder strap in case Santa is listening) would be so cool. Like when Jane Birkin auctioned off her original Birkin and people were so freaked out because she’d put stickers on it.

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Craig MacInnis 15 February 2013 at 8:50 pm

You guys have some smart ideas for camouflaging your valuables, but I just generally go for Glad Hefty bags when travelling overseas. Also good: bashed up duffel bags with Sarnia Sting logos plastered all over them. Great piece, whoever wrote this.

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Liza 17 February 2013 at 11:17 am

I believe you have a dark brown Longchamp duffel for travel. But nice try.
And the Sarnia Sting? Really? The Marlies’ logo is so much more iconic.

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Janine 18 February 2013 at 5:40 pm

I hear those Hefty Bags are strong. Do you even have to double-bag ‘em to use as luggage?

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Lesley 18 February 2013 at 7:35 pm

My mum was gifted a rather fancy suitcase for her 60th. It was silver, shiny and purdy, and she loved it. It was pinched the first time she flew with it. So sad. :(

I’ve got a crappy old Samsonite and am happy. Only challenge is that it’s black.

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Liza 18 February 2013 at 9:20 pm

That is such a terrible story. I feel just awful for your Mum. Grrr.
And that it was a gift for a big-deal birthday makes it even worse.

It’s depressing that we have to have ugly suitcases. Maybe your Samsonite could benefit from some Hello Kitty colour. Unless it’s all fabric, which is not so sticker-friendly.

(Still feeling bad for your Mum.)

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Kristen 22 February 2013 at 7:22 pm

I have the exact knock off that LV bag I bought it on purpose just for this reason. I couldn’t see spending $$$ on a bag that would bang around under a plane or stolen..

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Liza 23 February 2013 at 7:18 pm

Did you get it on Canal Street? How good a knock-off is it? So curious.

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