Paris Olympics 2024 medal bearers wear outifts with 100% eco-designed fabrics according to LVMH
Paris Olympics 2024 medal bearers wear outifts with 100% eco-designed fabrics according to LVMH
Image: Supplied

Take your marks for what’s set to be the best-dressed and most culturally rich encounter in the history of the Olympic Games, taking place in the fashion capital of the world from July 26. Following an estimated $160m contribution from LVMH to the Paris 2024 kitty, the diverse in-house talents of the luxury empire’s premium brands have been implemented to reimagine the Olympic experience and ensure they are well integrated into the Games.

Resonating with elite athletes’ pursuit of excellence and paying close attention to every detail of the greater game plan, the citywide creative takeover of the Paris Olympics and Paralympic Games is in the discerning hands of Antoine Arnault, head of parent company Christian Dior. Arnault, respected for his sharp business acumen and chic personal style, is the eldest son of Bernard Arnault — owner of LVMH and Forbes’ “richest person in the world”.

While you might shout out “nepo”, to his credit he certainly appears to be the right person for the task, having cut his teeth in advertising at Louis Vuitton and then as head of communications and image at LVMH. At least he knows how to weave a good narrative. And the story so far is impressive.

New medals have been finely crafted by LVMH-owned jeweller Chaumet, with a sunburst pattern inspired by tiaras from their archive and the City of Light. Proudly French, the “gem-set” hexagonal centrepiece is a symbol of the nation and made from bits of iron left over after the recent modernisation and refurbishment of the Eiffel Tower.

All medals will be safely stored in a custom-made Louis Vuitton trunk, of course, and with an additional touch of French savoir-faire, will be served at victory ceremonies on LV trays covered in the Maison’s historic Damier canvas. Close friend and former French Vogue editor-turned-stylist Carine Roitfeld was enticed to collaborate on the design of the Berluti tuxedos as part of the outfits for Team France at the opening ceremony.

Apart from the Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton art museum gifted to the city in 2014, LVMH has a full agenda of artistic events taking place in a number of their historic and landmark Paris buildings as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Among these, Berluti hosts artist Mathieu Forget, well-known for his breathtaking levitation art, for a show “combining movement, sports and fashion”.

Team France in Berluti tuxedos
Team France in Berluti tuxedos
Image: Kacper Kasprzyk

Dior hosts a series of photographic works at the flagship store on Avenue Montaigne, featuring its sports ambassadors. The Vuitton Family Home at 18 Rue Louis Vuitton in Asnières, showcases trunks by Kim Jones and one designed by Virgil Abloh to house a Pickleball game, alongside unique historic trunks from the 19th century. The LVMH-owned iconic department store, Samaritaine, is “celebrating the fun and sheer pleasure of physical activities, morphing into a giant winners’ podium” with activities including three free-access sports-focused exhibitions.

While their stories of patriotism and altruism align with the Games, there is an obvious commercial intention to the LVMH investment and it is essential that more conscious consumers do not take their eyes off the ball. It is important to note that in placing profit before people and planet like fast fashion operators, many leading luxury brands have been called out recently over questionable labour and environmental practices in meeting targets and shareholder demands. Earlier this year, LVMH faced accusations of unfair labour practices involving subsistence farmers in Peru, who supply wool to Loro Piana.

Additionally, Dior is reported to be under scrutiny by Italian prosecutors over the working conditions at one of their third-party suppliers of handbags. Yet LVMH insists that it is committed to “luxury that is both sustainable and inclusive” and their Olympic endeavours highlight their focus on creative circularity. Fabrics that are 100% eco-designed have been used to manufacture the 600 outfits for young medal bearers. The unisex polo shirts and gavroche caps are made from recycled jersey material, and the pants in an upcycled poly-wool blend were produced by La Fabrique Nomade, a non-profit that supports the professional integration of refugee artisans in France. A shift in practice could make everyone a winner. 

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