Louis Vuitton's Rio store robbed

Models at the fashion show at the Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum.
Models at the fashion show at the Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

$190,000 worth of handbags stolen two days after brand stages lavish fashion show

NEW YORK • Forget "see now/buy now", think "see now/take now."

Early on Tuesday, just two days after its extravagant cruise show at the Niteroi Contemporary Art Museum in Rio de Janeiro, Louis Vuitton experienced the downside of the applause it had attracted as the first major European brand to bring a fashion show to Brazil: Its Ipanema store was robbed.

According to a Brazilian spokesman for Louis Vuitton, thieves broke in at 2am and stole handbags worth around 500,000 reals (S$191,600). The military police later secured the store, the spokesman said, as many local customers and tourists were lining up to buy items as a result of the show.

The spokesman said: "They came after the robbers."

The theft could be seen as karmic justice for daring to bring a very exclusive event to a country in the throes of economic turmoil and political unrest.

Brazil is fighting a Zika epidemic and under pressure for its handling of the coming Summer Olympics.

But it is among Vuitton's 10 biggest markets, on the same scale as France and Russia. Vuitton has had a brick-and-mortar presence there since 1989.

For the show that was live- streamed around the world last weekend, the brand employed a few thousand local workers for two weeks and entertained approximately 500 guests.

Celebrities such as Alicia Vikander and Catherine Deneuve were treated to the show and expeditions, including a helicopter ride and a tour of local modernist architecture.

NEW YORK TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2016, with the headline 'Louis Vuitton's Rio store robbed'. Print Edition | Subscribe