Designer label ditched in Malema makeover

2015-01-18 15:00

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French luxury label Louis Vuitton has lost one of its most loyal South African customers: Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema.

It seems a R7 500 pair of shoes don’t suit his austere new political image, a salesperson at Louis Vuitton’s softly lit Cape Town boutique told City Press this week.

The brand isn’t struggling at its highbrow home at the V&A Waterfront – in fact, the sales team did a roaring trade during the ANC’s January 8 celebrations and is looking forward to the opening of Parliament on February 12.

“Mr Malema was a regular shopper here. There is no denying that he was often seen wearing Louis Vuitton apparel.

But he doesn’t come here anymore. Louis Vuitton doesn’t fit his new image, really,” the salesperson, who asked not to be named, said.

Malema’s wardrobe choices sparked debate last year when he was spotted hitting the election campaign trail shod in silver-buckle-embellished Louis Vuitton loafers. These shoes cost on average of R7 500 a pair.

But Malema countered that his lavish lifestyle – presumably also referring to his shoes – served to “inspire the poor”.

The salesperson said he preferred not to divulge exactly when Malema had last visited the store.

Photographs of a window display at this very store featuring a huge bow in green and gold went viral last weekend, prompting speculation that Louis Vuitton was supporting the ruling party’s 103rd birthday celebrations.

But the salesperson and other staff at the store this week told City Press the display’s colours were a coincidence and had nothing to do with the ANC.

They revealed that business was indeed strong over the last weekend, when hundreds of the ANC’s top brass gathered in the Mother City.

They’re also looking forward to the opening of Parliament on February 12, as – a sales clerk said – that is when they experience a business boom.

Louis Vuitton has been named the world’s most valuable luxury brand for six consecutive years. Long renowned for its signature luggage line, it began expanding its product range to include high-end fashion and footwear in 1997.

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