Louis Vuitton has officially announced its long-anticipated return to the America’s Cup as the French fashion brand is named the race’s title partner for the 37th annual competition in 2024. The announcement has sent ripples of excitement through both the fashion and sailing communities as anticipation builds for what promises to be a spectacular fusion of elegance, innovation, and maritime excellence. With a long association between the two names, Louis Vuitton’s commitment to the celebrated competition is one of the greatest partnerships in sporting history. As a result, the Maison’s return heralds a new era for the America’s Cup while paying tribute to the elegant races of the past.
Louis Vuitton’s association with the America’s Cup is not merely a newfound interest. Both institutions were founded within a few years of each other – the America’s Cup was first, starting in 1851, followed by Louis Vuitton in 1854. Despite running parallel courses for 130 years, their paths did not converge until 1983 when Louis Vuitton offered to sponsor ‘The Challengers Cup’. Now named after the brand, this series was created by the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron and the New York Yacht Club as a way for Challengers to face off against the Defender in the lead-up to the America’s Cup. For the following 40 years, this partnership emphasised the elegance and refinement behind the art of sailing, showing the shared values between the two worlds to explore innovations while still honouring traditional practices.
In addition to sponsoring the competition, Louis Vuitton has also played a pivotal role in the history of the trophy for the America’s Cup. The Auld Mug was first awarded to the winners of the initial 1851 race and has been presented to a number of champions up to the present day, making it the oldest international sports trophy in the world. The ornate silver pitcher was joined by the Louis Vuitton Cup in 1983 when the brand commissioned it. Additionally, it was only fitting for the brand built upon perfecting the ‘Art of Travel’ to create two bespoke leather travel trunks to transport the trophies across the globe. These trunks have since become as recognised as the awards themselves and will be making a resounding return with Louis Vuitton in 2024.
The French fashion house remained involved with the America’s Cup until 2017 when it was announced that the sponsorship would be going on hiatus. In recent years, the brand’s Italian rival, Prada, has stepped in – however, there was a definitive void left in the competition without Louis Vuitton. The return of Louis Vuitton to the America’s Cup marks a revival of a cherished tradition, rekindling memories for many enthusiasts of both fashion and sailing alike.
The Louis Vuitton Cup will recommence on August 29 and ends on October 7, 2024, with competitors setting sail from Barcelona. The contest will see five teams – Ineos Britannia, Alinghi Red Bull Racing, Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli, NYYC American Magic, and Orient Express Racing – compete against the reigning champions, Emirates Team New Zealand, for the title.
The Maison’s current president and CEO, Pietro Beccari, spoke of his pride in spearheading this momentous occasion, stating, “Port Vell of Barcelona will be the setting for a display of elegance and power, where teams will compete with boldness, talent, and mastery on increasingly innovative yachts. These values equally reflect the spirit of Louis Vuitton and its artisans.” To further honour the reignition of this partnership, Louis Vuitton will be providing two new trophy trunks from their atelier in France, as well as limited edition uniforms for the competing teams. This shows how Louis Vuitton’s presence promises an added layer of glamour and sophistication to an already distinguished event.
This return is more than a sponsorship deal, it is a tribute to a long-standing history between high fashion and elite sports and celebrates the principles of innovation and endurance that are parallel across these two distinct worlds. The world eagerly awaits a new golden age of sailing, propelled by Louis Vuitton’s unmistakable style and panache at the 34th annual America’s Cup.