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Essential Classics: The Rimowa Suitcase

Remember that time you saw that movie about travel to that place that featured that famous actor? Remember the luggage that actor carried through the airport while traveling to that place? Odds are, that luggage was a Rimowa suitcase. You might know Rimowa luggage by its sleek aluminum shell, or its signature groove design, or its starring roles on the silver screen…but what you might not know is the story behind it, a 100-year history of high-quality and innovative design.


Rimowa (pronounced ree-mo-vah) was founded in Cologne, Germany in 1898 by Paul Morszeck. Morszeck’s early forays into travel gear consisted of suitcases made from wood, and within a few years Rimowa’s large wardrobe and steamer trunks became the must-have accessory for high-class travelers.

The company continued to produce beloved luggage through the 1920s and in 1937, guided by the founder’s son, Richard Morszeck, Rimowa produced the first steamer trunk made of lightweight metal. The 1937 trunk was also the first to feature Rimowa’s trademark groove design.

1950 saw the next step in the evolution of the Rimowa suitcase. A hardy new exterior was made from structural aluminium, making the case equal parts lightweight and sturdy. The case made design history, and quickly became popular with flight crews and airline passengers.

Rimowa continued to live up to its slogan – ‘Handwerk meets Hightech’ – in the 1970s when, led by the third generation of the Morszeck family, a new series of waterproof cases for cameras and other photographic equipment was released.

In 2000 Rimowa was the first company to produce nearly unbreakable polycarbonate luggage, and today Rimowa ranks among the leading manufacturers of luggage in Europe.

In Popular Culture:

Stylish globetrotters aren’t the only ones who have fallen in love with Rimowa’s legendary cases. Rimowa is also the luggage seen in over 150 movies, and on the arms of countless celebrities around the world. The case has appeared in everything from Gossip Girl, where it was carried by Chace Crawford as Nate Archibald, to Ronin, where it is pursued by Robert De Niro and his group of former special forces operatives.

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