‘There is no such thing as a family on the planet that doesn’t have Louis Vuitton merchandise’

It was the picture that launched a social media sensation: soccer superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi hunched over a chess recreation set atop Louis Vuitton’s signature baggage. That 2022 marketing campaign picture broke the document on the time for many likes on Instagram. Now the world’s largest luxurious home, with greater than €20bn in annual gross sales, is trying to capitalise as soon as once more on one of many sporting world’s largest duos in a brand new marketing campaign that includes rival tennis virtuosos Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer. The pairing is a coup for Vuitton chief government Pietro Beccari. It has been simply over a 12 months since he took on one of many luxurious sector’s largest jobs with a mandate to additional develop the LVMH-owned model — which had its origins as a Nineteenth-century luggage-maker — by reworking it right into a cultural juggernaut.“There is no such thing as a family on the planet that doesn’t have [contact with] Louis Vuitton merchandise,” Beccari tells the FT in a video interview from Paris. “There aren’t a whole lot of manufacturers that may say they enter the lives of individuals like we do.”We’re already lively in way of life and imagine we should be about way more than simply shopping for baggage’Beccari is not only speaking about gross sales of purses and ready-to-wear trend — although these greater than doubled between 2018 and 2022, in accordance with estimates from HSBC. Now, beneath the steerage of LVMH chief government Bernard Arnault and Beccari’s management, Louis Vuitton is additional pushing again luxurious’s boundaries in a bid to succeed in an ever-wider viewers.  “We’re in books, in writing, in enhancing. We’re in music,” the 56-year-old Italian government says. “We’re very a lot in sports activities . . . so we’re very a lot masking a spectrum of life that pursuits individuals. It is sort of a magnet for them to turn out to be drawn to the model.” Beccari’s in style method to the posh model was epitomised by his appointment final 12 months of musician and producer Pharrell Williams to design menswear. What Williams lacked in technical design information he made up for in cultural cachet, reworking catwalk reveals into leisure occasions that includes elaborate stagings and musical company akin to Jay-Z. The appointment has divided the style world, nevertheless, with critics lamenting what they noticed because the triumph of spectacle over craft at LVMH’s flagship model. Pharrell Williams at Louis Vuitton’s autumn/winter 2024 menswear present in Paris © WireImageFor Beccari, nevertheless, weaving a deepening internet of overlaps between in style tradition, leisure and model identification is strategic and key to the megabrand’s future: “For each present Pharrell has performed thus far, we now have all the time had new songs popping out” — the most recent of which was produced for Miley Cyrus and performed for the primary time at Louis Vuitton’s newest autumn/winter 2024 menswear present. Throughout the identical season, “Pharrell additionally launched the cowboy hat and now you’re seeing that within the US nearly in all places. Even Beyoncé has an album supporting cowboy tradition [for which Pharrell has also written a few songs]”, says Beccari. “These are examples of our model in luxurious, not simply in promoting baggage, however having an affect on tradition.”Nevertheless, the growing ubiquity of Louis Vuitton presents its personal problem because the model makes an attempt to steadiness accessibility towards dropping the veneer of exclusivity that’s important to commanding the status and worth factors of luxurious. “We’ll see if I’m good at it or not in two to a few years . . . however that is an everlasting dilemma,” says Beccari.One in all his bets is on creating restricted distribution of entry-level merchandise, akin to sun shades and perfume, as a way to create shortage. This has seen “unbelievable success”, he notes. “Usually a profitable fragrance can be in 80,000 or 90,000 shops. We restrict it to round 400.” (Louis Vuitton’s retailer community is way bigger than luxurious friends akin to Hermès and Chanel).Louis Vuitton’s CEO Pietro Beccari © Nathaniel GoldbergLouis Vuitton’s management of its distribution community and policy of by no means discounting its merchandise are one other benefit, in accordance with Beccari. He additionally factors to its care system, which permits clients to convey again merchandise bought from the model to be repaired. “We have to protect our desirability regardless of our visibility and that’s the largest problem that we now have,” Beccari says. “We’re ensuring that the levers we put in place will repay in the long run, and I imagine that this marketing campaign [with Nadal and Federer] will assist enhance the desirability of the model in the long term.”Nonetheless, taking Louis Vuitton to the subsequent degree is being made tougher as a consequence of a sector-wide slowdown in luxurious gross sales following a multi-year growth in the course of the pandemic. Manufacturers with a broader, extra aspirational shopper base akin to Louis Vuitton have been hit more durable by the slowdown than rivals like Hermès, which cater to the highest tier of rich shoppers. The darkening outlook in the important thing Chinese language market, which fuelled development for a lot of the previous decade, additionally presents a problem to the sector as an entire. “Beccari comes at a fairly troublesome time as a result of the trade goes via fairly a little bit of a slowdown, and notably the rebound in Chinese language consumption just isn’t on the degree most trade managers would have hoped for a number of months in the past,” says Erwan Rambourg, world head of consumer and retail analysis at HSBC. We promote excellence, high quality, success and optimism. In a means, the notion of journey and journey in life is a mirror of that’Beccari, nevertheless, has a naturally aggressive nature, having beforehand been an expert footballer in Italy’s second division in his adolescence, in addition to a coach. Born in a small city in Italy’s Parma area, Beccari was recruited to LVMH from mass market shampoo-maker Henkel in 2006.He rapidly rose via the ranks on the luxurious group, first main trend model Fendi earlier than being appointed CEO of Dior, the group’s second-biggest model by gross sales, in 2018. Beneath his management, Dior’s gross sales quadrupled, in accordance with HSBC estimates, by increasing its market share throughout girls’s and males’s trend, leather-based items, jewelry and homewares. He additionally oversaw the renovation of Dior’s flagship at 30 Avenue Montaigne in Paris, which features a museum, restaurant and personal suite. Beccari has comparable ambitions to leverage Louis Vuitton’s pedigree to increase its providing in hospitality. It already operates an airport lounge in Doha and eating places in Osaka, Chengdu and Seoul. A big-scale challenge on Paris’s Champs Elysées, nonetheless presently beneath development, is broadly anticipated to incorporate a Louis Vuitton-branded lodge.“We’ve got plans within the Champs-Elysées — it isn’t a secret,” says Beccari. “We’re already lively in way of life and imagine that we should be about way more than simply shopping for baggage.”A behind-the-scenes picture of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal © Annie LeibovitzWith Federer and Nadal, Beccari is making good on a challenge he first conceived again in 2007, when he was government vice-president of marketing and communications at Louis Vuitton, with Antoine Arnault, Bernard Arnault’s eldest son and then-director of communications at Louis Vuitton.It’s a revival of the Core Values marketing campaign that first started in 2007 and bumped into the 2010s. The most recent iteration reveals Federer and Nadal, photographed by Annie Leibovitz, trekking via the jagged peaks of Italy’s Dolomites mountain vary, each sporting branded backpacks (Federer in a traditional monogram Christopher type and Nadal in a monogram Eclipse model).RecommendedWas it troublesome getting the 2 superstars collectively? “By no means,” insists Beccari. “They’re good buddies and see one another privately. It was a rivalry that grew to become a friendship. They’re happy with it and I feel they set an unbelievable instance.” “We promote excellence, high quality, success and optimism. In a means, the notion of journey and journey in life is a mirror of that,” Beccari continues, and the driving power behind LVMH’s sponsorship of this summer time’s Paris Olympics. For the chief, Nadal and Federer epitomise the Olympic spirit. “I feel no one greater than them represents this excessive, ferocious competitors that turns into friendship, which is strictly what sports activities must be.”Discover out about our newest tales first — observe @financialtimesfashion on Instagram — and subscribe to our podcast Life & Artwork wherever you hear

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