From gold medals to wardrobes, Paris Olympics to spotlight French luxury

From the podium to athletes' wardrobes, French luxury goods giant LVMH is planning to put high-end Gallic chic at the heart of the Paris Olympics, underlining how sport has become a promotional platform for even the most exclusive brands.

Parisian luxury jewellery house Chaumet, one of LVMH's lesser-known properties, was thrust into the public limelight on Thursday when its design for the medals for the July 26-August 11 extravaganza was unveiled.

The role was a departure from its usual niche making engagement rings, tiaras and diamond-studded broaches for the ultra-wealthy, with LVMH hoping to harness the huge international reach of the Olympics on home turf.

Antoine Arnault, senior LVMH executive and eldest son of company founder Bernard Arnault, said at the ceremony to reveal the medals that there was a "quasi-military organisation inside the company" working on Paris Olympics projects.

"LVMH as a partner will try to add a little touch of creativity, notably during the moments of celebration," he told reporters.

Controlled by the world's richest man, Bernard Arnault, LVMH signed up as "premium partner" for the Paris Games in July last year after months of complex negotiations about the use of its brands.

LVMH has declined to make public how much it is contributing to the 4.4-billion-euro ($4.7 billion) organising budget of the Games.


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