Let the fashion endorsements begin! Michael Phelps announced as latest face of Louis Vuitton Core Values campaign
18:02 GMT, 13 August 2012
As the most decorated Olympian of all time, it was only a matter of time before Michael Phelps landed a major fashion endorsement.
And it seems the now-retired U.S. swimmer has hit the big time, landing a spot in the latest Louis Vuitton Core Values campaign.
Following in the footsteps of Sean Connery and Catherine Deneuve, Phelps, 27, poses with one of the French label's famous monogrammed bags.
Olympic champions: Now-retired U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps poses with former Soviet gymnast Larisa Latynina, 77, in Louis Vuitton's latest Core Values campaign
He stars alongside former Soviet gymnast Larisa
Latynina, 77, also an Olympic champion many times over, having won 18 medals in her impressive career.
The caption beneath, which is written in Italian, bears the words: 'Due percorsi straordinari. Uno stesso destino', which translates as: 'Two extraordinary paths. The same fate.'
The new Core Values campaign image was released at the same time as another image of the swimming star, wearing trunks and goggles in a bath, with an LV-monogrammed bag beside the tub.
Though it is designed to look like it too is for Louis Vuitton, the luxury label told MailOnline: 'It is not an official Louis Vuitton image.'
The official new advertisement is the latest in an ongoing
series, all shot by celebrated U.S. portrait photographer Annie Leibowitz.
The campaign has also featured images of Francis Ford Coppola with his
daughter Sofia, Rolling Stones rocker Keith Richards and even Mikhail Gorbachev.
Swansong: Michael Phelps pictured last week with his medal for the 100m butterfly at the Olympic Games
The purpose of the Louis Vuitton series runs deeper than straightforward promotion however.
The Core Values campaign supports Al Gore's Climate Change project.
'We are delighted with its success' says Pietro Beccari, Louis
Vuitton's Senior Vice-President of Communication and Marketing.
'Our aim was to broaden the idea of
travel beyond its geographical dimension, and the campaign has achieved
this in a truly remarkable way. We are particularly proud of the acclaim
it has received from within the advertising industry, witnessed by
'This is a good example of how a
business can be innovative and successful, and at the same time
environmentally responsible' said Al Gore on the project.