Berluti has confirmed it scored a high-visibility role in the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games: dressing French teams from head to toe for the opening ceremonies, scheduled for July 26 and Aug. 28, respectively.
“In Tokyo, the opening ceremony was seen by over 3 billion people, which is more than any campaign we could imagine promoting the work of our craftsmen and craftswomen,” Antoine Arnault, chief executive officer of Berluti, enthused in an interview with WWD. “Many people know Berluti for our classy shoes, but less for our ready-to-wear or our bespoke collections.”
Details about Team France’s outfits are being kept under wraps as Berluti’s design studios and artisans work closely with teams led by Marie-Amélie Le Fur, president of the French Paralympic and Sports Committee; David Lappartient, president of the French Olympic and Sports Committee, and Tony Estanguet, president of Paris 2024.
“I can’t say too much yet, as we’re still working on the attire,” Arnault demurred, while hinting, “Berluti is a French maison, a symbol of elegance, and we want the athletes and all the members of the delegation to truly feel like ambassadors of France for this ceremony, which will be the experience of a lifetime.”
Arnault, who is also head of communication, image and environment at LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, had hinted last July that the 130-year-old brand might dress the French delegation when LVMH signed on to become a premium partner of the games. That move guaranteed the luxury group and some of its brands prime visibility during the planetary event, including its eagerly awaited opening ceremony.
Organizers are billing the Paris games as “the biggest event in the world,” expected to draw 4 billion TV viewers, 13 million spectators and 20,000 journalists.
Berluti said the French uniforms would be designed for the “ease and comfort” of athletes, while being “tailored to the maison’s usual meticulous standards.”
“From the very beginning, as soon as we started to think about this partnership with Paris 2024, I wanted to involve Berluti in the Olympic and Paralympic Games and take this unique opportunity to showcase the savoir-faire of this French maison, which is dear to me,” Arnault explained in the interview.
“First and foremost, it’s a great source of pride for all of us. We’ve been lucky enough to fit and dress great artists and leaders over the past century, but dressing the French delegation for Paris 2024 is an even greater challenge,” he continued.
Over the years Berluti has catered to personalities such as Andy Warhol, Frank Sinatra, Yves Saint Laurent and Marcel Proust.
Now it will “marry elegance with performance” in dressing French athletes. Among Olympic hopefuls LVMH is sponsoring are fencer Enzo Lefort, gymnast Mélanie de Jesus dos Santos and swimmer Leon Marchand.
Arnault said work on the designs began months ago. “And we still have a few stages to go before production begins,” he said, stressing, “The mission is huge, but these are the Olympics. This will be our main event in a way. We will rise to the challenge and we’re aiming for gold!”
Arnault said Berluti had previewed prototypes of the uniforms to a handfull of people, and the feedback was uniformly positive.
“This is also a result of our working closely with the athletes. Even if they haven’t yet seen the final result, everything has been done for and with them. There will be one look and a few variations, but we’re keeping it a secret until the unveiling ahead of the Olympics opening ceremony,” he added.
Several major LVMH houses will play a special role during the sporting events, with jeweler Chaumet designing the medals, and Louis Vuitton, Dior, Sephora and the Moët Hennessy wines and spirits division also taking part.