Walking Tall: Inside Louis Vuitton’s shoe factory

America’s Cup: Louis Vuitton’s sponsorship fee discounted by $3 million

No detail is too fine or too invisible to be worth bothering with, and it is hard to take in that this is the one place that all of Louis Vuitton’s shoes, to be shipped everywhere from Tokyo to Sao Paulo, are made. The production line seems too slow and exacting for a product that is produced in high volume. And those volumes are growing steadily. Last year Vuitton opened its first in-store shoe shop at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, and it recently opened its first standalone shoe shop in Dubai Mall’s Shoe District. This Monday Selfridges in London will host Britain’s first Louis Vuitton Shoe Salon in its phenomenally successful Shoe Gallery, which has become a place of pilgrimage to the shoe obsessed, of which review there are many. To celebrate, Vuitton has produced a black calfskin, silk satin and Swarovski-studded 14cm platform shoe in a limited edition of 24 pairs. They call it a ‘pump’, but that seems too basic a term for this high-glamour heel, the entire batch of which was still being finished when I visited Fiesso last month. Sculpture by Joana Vasconcelos in the factory courtyard. Like all Vuitton shoes, the Selfridges shoe, which is based on a design called Nightcall for the pre-fall collection, began life as a drawing in the office of Fabrizio Viti, the company’s shoe style director who is based at LV HQ in Paris.

Barclay declined to disclose what the French luxury goods maker is paying to sponsor the series, which will determine the opponent for defending champion Oracle Team USA in the 34th America’s Cup starting Sept. 7. But he said sponsorships of this type are generally worth tens of millions of dollars. He added that the reduced sponsorship fee won’t affect the sailing. Louis Vuitton has sponsored the challenger series since 1983. The regatta has gotten off to a troubled start. Artemis Racing’s Andrew “Bart” Simpson was killed in a capsize on May 9 that destroyed the Swedish-based syndicate’s first boat.

How the Louis Vuitton Cup changed the sport

“It took a phone call and he said, ‘OK, I’m in.’ ” The first Louis Vuitton Cup, to determine which of the challengers will face the defender of the America’s Cup, was held in 1983. That first race marked a turning point in the history of the America’s Cup, as an Australian team skippered by John Bertrand wrested the Cup from the New York Yacht Club and ended America’s 132-year winning streak. This year represents the 30th anniversary – and eighth regatta – of the Louis Vuitton series. Round-robin qualifying races begin Sunday, and continue until the start of the semifinals on Aug. 6, with the finals running from Aug. 17 to 30. “The first Vuitton Cup was a big deal,” Trouble said.

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