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These Louis Vuitton Trunks Hold Precious Olympic Cargo

Linking its brand to stirring moments during the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris, Louis Vuitton has created bespoke trunks to house the torches — and the medals that will be bestowed on winning athletes this summer.

The first trunk will come into public view on May 8, when the Olympic torch begins its journey from Marseille in the south of France to Paris, its ultimate destination from July 14.

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In August, the Paralympic torch will embark from Stoke Mandeville, U.K. — site of the first competition for wheelchair athletes in 1948. The two flames are to pass through the hands of more than 11,000 torchbearers.

“We are honored and extremely proud to be part of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games with the mission of packing and presenting the defining symbols of Olympism and Paralympism,” said Pietro Beccari, chairman and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton.

The French luxury powerhouse has its roots in packing and travel goods stretching back more than 170 years, especially “trunks that embody excellence, creativity and audacity, values we share with the world’s greatest sporting events,” he said. “Once again, victory travels in Louis Vuitton.”

The trunks are to be officially unveiled Wednesday night at Vuitton’s historic workshops and the founding family’s home in Asnières-sur-Seine, just outside of Paris.

Vuitton noted the trunks are designed to protect and display the torches, each equipped with circular sockets in the base and the lid to securely hold in place the metal objects, created by French industrial designer Mathieu Lehanneur.

Lehanneur’s unique, champagne-colored design features a curved torch, symmetrical in shape on both sides, with the bottom bearing an undulating water motif.

The exterior of the torch trunks bear Vuitton’s signature canvas in a checkered Damier pattern, which dates back to 1888, with brass corners and closures. The interiors are done up in black leather to avoid scratches on the torch surface, and to create a striking backdrop when opened for display, the hinged lid bearing an embossed Paris 2024 logo.

The medal trunks — one version for the Olympic Games and another for the Paralympic Games — are covered in Vuitton’s famous Monogram canvas, also with protective brass corners and closures.

Inspired by its “malle coiffeuse” originally made for hairdressers, the medal trunk boasts a central section and two hinged wings that open to reveal drawers specially designed to hold 468 medals, which were designed by jewelry house Chaumet.

The Vuitton trunk in Monogram canvas houses 468 medals in special drawers.
The Vuitton trunk in Monogram canvas houses 468 medals in special drawers.

The drawers contain a system of magnets to safely hold the medals in place during transport. Drawer handles are made of matte-black leather.

For the 2024 Games, Vuitton parent LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, a premium partner of the gigantic sporting event, devised a new slogan: “Artisans of All Victories,” drawing a link between the savoir-faire of artisans and athletes, and their shared pursuit of performance and success.

Antoine Arnault, head of image and environment at LVMH, said the trunk project demonstrates how the French group is “once again fully expressing its role as creative partner” of the upcoming games.

“Protecting the symbol of Olympism — the torch — and the dreams of the greatest athletes — the medals — required the expertise of exceptional craftsmen,” he said. “It is a great source of pride today to unveil these original creations, which I’m sure will remain engraved in the history of the group and the Games.”

Vuitton has created trunks for trophies since 1988, lending its savoir-faire to many of the world’s most prominent sporting events, including the America’s Cup, the Australian Open, Ballon d’Or, Davis Cup, FIFA World Cup, Grand Prix de Monaco, NBA Championship, Roland Garros, and the Rugby World Cup.

Several major LVMH houses will play a special role during the Games, with Berluti dressing French teams from head to toe for the opening ceremonies of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, scheduled for July 26 and Aug. 28, respectively. Chaumet, Dior, Sephora and the Moët Hennessy wines and spirits division are also taking part.

In tandem with the unveiling of the Olympic and Paralympic trunks, Vuitton is staging a temporary exhibition of its emblematic Malle Courrier, alongside artifacts relating to sport, at the Louis Vuitton workshops in Asnières. Visitors must register online for 30-minute guided visits.

Pietro Beccari, Bernard Arnault and Tony Estanguet, president of Paris 2024.
Pietro Beccari, Bernard Arnault and Tony Estanguet, president of Paris 2024.

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