Ahead of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, which kicks off on 11th June, Louis Vuitton today unveiled the travel case it has created to hold football’s greatest prize, the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Commissioned by FIFA, the special order case, handmade by a single master craftsman in Louis Vuitton’s historic Asnières workshop near Paris, has been meticulously designed to accommodate the celebrated Trophy, which measures 36 cm in height, weighs 6.175 kg and is made of solid 18-carat gold with a base of semi-precious malachite. Covered in Louis Vuitton’s iconic Monogram canvas, the travel case is fitted with the company’s signature brass lock and corners, and has a dark brown lining that complements the Trophy’s rich gold. The case opens at the front and at the top to allow the Trophy to be removed easily when, at the final on 11th July in Johannesburg, watched by many millions of people across the globe, it will be presented.
The special order for FIFA perpetuates Louis Vuitton’s long tradition of creating elegant and ingenious cases for travellers to transport their most precious belongings. Born into a family of millers and carpenters in France’s remote Jura mountains, Louis Vuitton arrived in Paris in 1837 and established himself as a layetier-emballeur, a maker and packer of travellers’ trunks, becoming the favourite artisan of Empress Eugénie. In 1854, he founded his own company and made his name with a revolutionary flat-lidded trunk, which – as the era of rail travel dawned – could be stacked in a luggage compartment. The flat trunk was the first of many groundbreaking designs with which, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Louis Vuitton accompanied the development of modern means of transportation, elevating travel to an art de vivre.
Like all Louis Vuitton special orders, the FIFA World Cup Trophy case was made at the company’s original workshop in Asnières, which opened in 1859. Over the course of 150 years, the Asnières workshop has produced an astonishing variety of custom-made designs, from the foldout trunk-bed that equipped the African explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza to a secretary trunk for 1,000 cigars, from a portable tea service for the Maharajah of Baroda to an iPod case complete with dock and speakers. The workshop also crafted the trunk that holds the world’s oldest sporting trophy, the famous silver ewer of the America’s Cup, which dates back to 1851.
Special orders represent the quintessence of Louis Vuitton’s savoir-faire, uniting as they do the imagination of its designers and the skills of its craftsmen to create something genuinely unique. Each special order is a true one-off, an original idea, which gradually takes shape through detailed sketches and elaborate prototypes. Every year, around 450 special orders are completed, some modest, others grand in scale, but each one satisfying a customer’s specific need or realizing a dream. The one condition of any Louis Vuitton special order is that it must respect the spirit of travel, being conceived both to protect and to transport a customer’s belongings – a condition naturally fulfilled by the FIFA World Cup Trophy case.
Thierry Weil, FIFA Director of Marketing Division: “The travel case is an fundamental element in the appearance of our most important asset. It not only underlines the exclusivity and personality of the FIFA World Cup Trophy but guarantees safety and protection on it’s travel around the world.”
Antoine Arnault, Head of Communications for Louis Vuitton, says: “We are very proud to have been chosen by FIFA to create the case in which the world’s ultimate sporting prize will in future travel the globe. This exceptional commission truly honours Louis Vuitton’s 150- year tradition of craftsmanship and savoir-faire. We are also delighted to be part of the great festival of football that the 2010 FIFA World Cup promises to be, and to renew our ties with the host country South Africa, with which we have had for many years a very special relationship.”
Visit ILVOELV’s Facebook Page to view how the FIFA World Cup Trophy Case was created.
Images via Louis Vuitton