Nothing conveys the message of luxury travel quite like a matching set of fine designer luggage. Associated with Old World travel style, beautiful leather trunk cases have been making a strong comeback. The first flat trunks were designed by Louis Vuitton in the late 19th century specifically to accommodate rail passengers. Bulkier trunks with iron hoops were popular for stagecoach travel, but the stackable flat trunks proved more practical for railway carriages. Soon, other trunkmakers began copying Louis Vuitton's successful design, pushing the company to launch in 1896 its now iconic monogrammed canvas with the graphic symbols of quatrefoils and flowers. Today, Louis Vuitton trunks are still popular and available in a variety of designs, from the monogrammed canvas Alzer to the canvas Damier, which comes in stylish azure and a new, darker graphite (from $2,700; louisvuitton.com).
Faubourg Express suitcases, created by Globe-Trotter for the fashion house Hermès, also have a glamorous retro feel. They feature snap-on fastenings around a shell crafted of Vulcan Fibre, an extremely durable material made of compressed layers of paper. The result is a sturdy yet light case with an elegant Champ de Course scarf drawing printed on the inside (available in three models and a selection of colors, from $4,095 to $8,050; hermes.com).
Samsonite began by manufacturing luggage in Denver in the early 20th century. Generations of Americans first realized the pleasures of travel accompanied by the company's matched sets of hard suitcases with metal clasps. Today, its Black Label Trunk collection is another example of old and new coming together to maximum effect. While using the original design that made the company's name, the latest hand-made Samsonite luggage incorporates strong but light high-tech materials built around a riveted aluminum frame with brass detailing and leather support straps ($745; samsonite blacklabel.com/collections/ trunk/ctrunk-p1.html). Most important, the cases provide plenty of room for souvenirs collected along the way.