Eight Bells: Yves Carcelle

Published on September 1st, 2014

Yves Carcelle, the charismatic executive who transformed Louis Vuitton from a staid French maker of handbags and travel trunks into one of the world’s most recognizable luxury brands, died on Sunday (August 31) in Paris. He was 66.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the parent company of Louis Vuitton, confirmed the death in a statement on Monday (September 1) without specifying a cause. French news media reported that Mr. Carcelle learned last year that he had kidney cancer.

Mr. Carcelle, who was promoted to the top post at the Louis Vuitton brand in 1990 and later ran LVMH’s fashion division, was the main architect of an aggressive expansion into Asia and other international markets that elevated leather goods emblazoned with Louis Vuitton’s distinctive LV logo into one of fashion’s most coveted status symbols.

Mr. Carcelle was a stalwart supporter of the company’s title partnership of the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series, the elimination series to determine the Challenger to oppose the America’s Cup defender.

But more than that, Mr. Carcelle enjoyed a personal relationship with the event, the sailors, the media; the full America’s Cup family.

“We are nearly twins, the America’s Cup and Louis Vuitton, both having been created in the 1850s. In 1983 Louis Vuitton became involved by organizing the challengers’ competition, what we now call the Louis Vuitton Cup, and since then we have always been there, a part of this story,” he said.

“The America’s Cup is very special. It’s the oldest sporting trophy in the world. There is no equivalent. Nowhere else do you see people give three years of their lives, their reputations, and their money to have a chance of possessing this precious piece of silver for what is sure to be a short period of time. It speaks to ambition and drive and motivation. It’s a very unique trophy and I understand why so many people compete for so long to take this prize.”

Yves Carcelle is a Chevalier of the French Legion of Honor and, in a reflection of what he has meant to that country through his work on the America’s Cup, an Honorary Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

Source: NY Times, AmericasCup.com

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