By  on January 27, 2009

MILAN — Economic crisis or no, Damiani is going ahead with a sponsorship deal and store openings.

The jewelry firm is sponsoring the Italia Challenge team at the upcoming Louis Vuitton Pacific Series race in Auckland to boost brand awareness and strengthen its ties with the sailing world after similar deals with smaller yachting events. Damiani invested an undisclosed sum to enable the 17-member Italia Challenge team, skippered by veteran Vasco Vascotto, to participate in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series regatta, which runs from Friday to Feb. 14.

According to a source, sponsorship for this kind of event ranges from 350,000 euros, or $448,000, to 500,000 euros, or $640,000 at current exchange.The sponsors’ names will appear on the sails as well as sailing gear, T-shirts and gadgets.

“I’m a sailing enthusiast, so it’s a great satisfaction for our group to take part in the Louis Vuitton Pacific Series with a team racing under our name,” said Giorgio Damiani, vice president of the Damiani Group.

In July 2007, Louis Vuitton said it would end its legendary race, the Louis Vuitton Cup, by parting ways with the America’s Cup organization after almost 25 years of lending its name to the qualifying races that determine which boat will challenge for yachting’s top prize.

The new race series marks a return to the sailing calendar for Vuitton and is a response to the legal battles surrounding the America’s Cup. All 10 teams involved in the Pacific Series, including Italy’s Luna Rossa, will use vessels loaned from the Team New Zealand and BMW Oracle Racing. The Louis Vuitton Pacific Series will also be more spectator-friendly as the regattas takes place closer to the shoreline.

In addition to the yachting sponsorship, Damiani just opened its first monobrand store in St. Moritz, Switzerland, housed in a Norman Foster designed building in the heart of the chic ski resort. Partitioned into two separate areas to accommodate retail space and a VIP room, the 1,080-square-foot unit was designed by architect Antonio Citterio and features rosewood and bronzed brass furniture and panels.

Also, Guido Damiani and brand face Paris Hilton recently cut the ribbon on a new store for Bliss, the company’s younger line, in Tokyo’s trendy Omotesando Hills.

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