It's all about men just now.
Men who are fathers were celebrated yesterday and very nice that is too. Ronaldo, Van Persie, Rooney, Shevchenko et al are centre stage/pitch for Euro 2012. This weekend's inaugural London Collections: Men upheld the talents of Britain's finest menswear designers, from Savile Row to the avant-garde. In Paris, the menswear designers Raf Simons and Hedi Slimane are newly installed as creative directors at Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent women's wear respectively and will doubtless soon prove themselves more than – yes! – men enough for the job.
One of the most extraordinary sporting heroes in history, meanwhile, is featured in the new Louis Vuitton Core Values ad campaign. The champion heavyweight boxer/ political activist/poet, Muhammad Ali, crowned Sportsman of the Century by Sports Illustrated in 1999, has been photographed by Annie Leibovitz at his home watching one of his grandsons looking dapper in boxing gloves. "Some stars show you the way. Muhammad Ali and a rising star. Phoenix. Arizona," the tagline reads. Marvellous.
By Ali's side is a monogrammed holdall although blink and you might miss it as, as always, it is placed almost as if inadvertently, as part of a much bigger story. I love the Louis Vuitton Core Values campaigns. The list of those who have been featured is awesome – and that is not a word I use as readily as a Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtle might, say. Catherine Deneuve, Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf, Keith Richards, Francis Ford and Sofia Coppola, Buzz Aldrin, Mikhails Gorbatchev and Baryshnikov and Angelina Jolie, have all taken part.
"How do they manage to attract that level of superstar?" I always wonder because they are all superstars as opposed to mere celebrities. Celebrities. How common. The answer, presumably, is not romantic. This is among the most successful brands in the world – the cash cow in the LVMH (Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton) stable. It's therefore safe to assume that a considerable fee is involved. It would clearly be bad manners to go into that.
Whatever, it's worth it. If ever proof of Vuitton's power were needed it is well and truly established here.