CHECK out the back page of The Economist dated June 23, 2012, for what must be the best-looking advertisement featuring celebrities from world leaders in luxury Louis Vuitton. Including Angelina Jolie.
This one features none other than Muhammad Ali, looking almost as wonderful as the little guy he shares the frame with, his grandson apparently, and you realize that when he referred to himself as ‘The Greatest’ and to his own face as ‘pretty’, he wasn’t far off the mark.
Log into louisvuitton journeys.com/thegreatest and check out what the brand has in store for us next month. Describing Muhammad Ali as a man whose “professional boxing career has transcended generations to impact their view of the sport and competition,” it goes on to add “so has Ali’s actions and words as his life has transformed through his social activism. In an effort to both capture his outstanding personality and the ideas Ali works to bestow on the next generation, high-fashion label Louis Vuitton is preparing to release a new brand campaign entitled, ‘Core Values’.
It has launched a website ahead of its release, and presents “a trailer previewing more details on what we can expect in July 2012. This is a video featuring famed calligrapher Niels Shoe Meulman, MC Mos Def, and lyricist Yasiin Bey, who will collaborate to transform Ali’s words into a digital experience celebrating and illustrating the inspiration and power behind them. Check out the trailer and anticipate the rest.
For ourselves, we still remember the time when Muhammad Ali came to Mumbai (then Bombay), in the mid-80’s. He stayed at The Taj and it was our first-ever experience of high-level celebrity security. The Ballroom was packed with journalists, sports as well as everyone else who could cram in, and suddenly he was there in our midst, every bit as beautiful as his pictures.
And for the next hour, he kept us in thrall, answering questions in spontaneous verse, a riposte for everything, never a word out of place, the expressions flashing across his face, every inch The Greatest and making every one love him. Parkinsons was still in the future and all we saw was a great entertainer, a great boxer and a great athlete. Later on would come the great social activist, but that evening, we could not get enough of him.