2024-06-07 17:27:09

Ahead of the Olympics, Louis Vuitton CEO says spor

There are familiar sights synonymous with everyand Paralympics — emotional athletes, jubilant crowds, stands filled with colorful flags. And at next month’s upcoming ,are hoping they too will become a hallmark of the same grand occasion.

The luxury house’s distinctive Damier checkerboard trunks will house the Olympic torch as it travels across France, and Vuitton has created medal cases for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Seven French athletes — from fencer Enzo Lefort and swimmer Léon Marchand to wheelchair tennis champion Pauline Déroulède and para-cyclist Marie Patouillet — will also act as ambassadors for the brand.

The Olympic and Paralympic medals will be housed in a Louis Vuitton trunk.

The Olympics, and the extraordinary journeys that athletes take to reach them, closely align with the values at the heart of the French luxury fashion house, its chairman and CEO Pietro Beccari told CNN in an interview at the brand’s headquarters in Paris.

“We talk about excellence, we spoke about quality, we spoke about being prepared for every challenge, and that is something that is very close to our heart,” Beccari said, adding that Louis Vuitton is “very proud to be a French group” and willing to support its home Olympics in the “most beautiful city in the world.”

As one would expect from a company who also designs the trophy trunks for such events as the soccer World Cup and the F1 Grand Prix de Monaco, these are no ordinary pieces of luggage. The interiors of both trunks are lined with matte black leather; one featuring circular “sockets” in its base and lid to safely house and transport the Olympic torch, while the other contains enough drawers to store hundreds of medals.

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal collaborated for Louis Vuitton's campaign.

LVMH – the luxury conglomerate that owns Louis Vuitton – spent €150 million ($163 million) on its sponsorship deal with the Olympics, Vogue reported citing sources, though calculating the precise returns on this investment is “difficult,” said Beccari.

“We believe this campaign is building values, building desirability,” he said. “Quantifying it is very difficult, not that we didn’t try but it’s very very difficult or impossible.”

The fashion house has long associated itself with sport, sponsoring nautical events like the Americas Cup, as well as launching a recent campaign centered around the friendship of tennis legends Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

“We are very close to sport,” Beccari said, recalling the slogan “Victory travels in Louis Vuitton,” the fashion house used when one of its trunks housed the FIFA World Cup in 2010.

Pietro Beccari has been Louis Vuitton's CEO since February 2023.

“I think it incarnates very well the DNA of Louis Vuitton, of what I was saying before, the challenges, the willingness to overcome yourself, to reach your destination and to be willing to go and discover more.”

This messaging underpinned a new campaign with Federer and Nadal sitting on a Louis Vuitton case on a snowy mountain in the Dolomites, discussing their rivalry, their biggest achievements and their sporting heroes.

They’re “two beautiful young people that started from their little villages respectively in two different parts of Europe,” Beccari said, “and they became who they became so it’s really part of this philosophy of excellence, of quality, of envy to surpass yourself over time again.”

A behind-the-scenes shot of tennis stars Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal while on a photoshoot for a recent Louis Vuitton campaign.

While Louis Vuitton posted record profits last year and LVMH outperformed other luxury brands, the current economic environment with rising inflation leaving consumers with less disposable income poses challenges ahead, though Beccari downplayed such difficulties.

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“In terms of crisis, you always have to have the courage to see the opportunities and that’s what we do,” he said. “And there is a curve, and we like to do the curve with speed, so when the road will be straight again we’ll have sufficient speed to be ahead of the others.”