The world of sports has undoubtedly been a force to be reckoned with and its influence on luxury brands has reached an all time high when Louis Vuitton collaborated with Supreme back in 2017. Since then, it has paved the way for other partnerships between brands such as Prada x Adidas, Gucci x Northface, and Dior x Air Jordan—a trend that shows no sign of waning.
Looking back at the history of sportswear collaborations, the luxury industry has shown keen interest in capturing this segment of consumers who have a penchant for smartwear where functionality meets style. The result is the creation of the first sportswear collection by Yohji Yamamoto x Adidas in the early 2000s.
Louis Vuitton also has a spade of sports collaborations, such as producing trophy cases for the America’s Cup, the FIFA World Cup, the Rugby World Cup and the Roland-Garros tennis tournament. Apart from just physical sports, the French Maison has ventured into the world of e-sports, teaming up with the League of Legends in designing a state-of-the-art trophy case that reportedly took over 900 hours of work.
Last year, Louis Vuitton announced a partnership with NBA and an invitation was sent out along with a statement, “Michael Burke, chairman and chief executive officer, Louis Vuitton is pleased to invite you to celebrate the new partnership between Louis Vuitton and NBA.” In an article by WWD, it is said that “NBA will play a regular season game in Paris,” and just last week, Louis Vuitton unveiled their Pre-fall 2021 capsule collection.
Celebrating the best of both worlds while relooking back to the 90’s basketball mania, Virgil Abloh took elements from the courts, such as the basketball nets, and had it adorned on the Keepall bag while the NBA’s iconic logo stamped at the front. Elsewhere, leather jackets have vibrant patches of colourful texts attached. Its black varsity is contrasted with black-and-white “LV” stitchings with recognisable motifs from the courts. The centrepiece of this collection is the house’s first-ever basketball that is available in either in the life-size of 29.5” or in 5.11”.
Apart from the courtside, Louis Vuitton has announced yet another collaboration: Automobile Club de Monaco, the premier Formula One (F1) racing event, the Monaco Grand Prix. Much to the delight of F1 fans around, the race will return this month after being cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. This multi year partnership is considered the most glamorous and high-profile event on the F1 racing calendar.
“At almost 300 km/h between the rails, it’s the Formula One Grand Prix that all drivers aspire to win one day. Today, we are proud to be associated with the championship and to start writing together a piece of history,” Michael Burke, chairman and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton, said in a statement.
The winner of the race will be presented with a trophy that is housed in a handcrafted Louis Vuitton trunk that comes in bespoke monogram canvas that will be remixed with the red shade from the Monaco flag, along with a red and white stripes that is said to form a “V”, for victory. The trophy itself is modeled after the race course’s 19 turns that drivers must speed through 78 times.
The allure of sports has not diminished despite the ravaging pandemic that’s sweeping the world. Instead, luxury brands are banking on consumers’ growing desire for keeping active and the possibility of a surge in demand for this category of goods post-pandemic. For now, these brands will continue to tease consumers with more collaborations. Exploring this segment of consumers, luxury brands could potentially uncover a hidden consumer goldmine.
All images courtesy of Louis Vuitton.