Audemars Piguet will reveal at a press event in Miami on Saturday that James, the star forward for the Miami Heat, will become the company’s newest global brand ambassador.
“He’s young and he’s one of the very top, top players in his field,” said François-Henry Bennahmias, president and chief executive officer for the North American arm of the luxury watch company. “We have hope that he’ll be one of the greatest players of all time and will be remembered 10 years from now, too.”
As part of the association, James will represent the watch brand in both the U.S. and overseas while the company lends support to James’s charitable efforts.
“LeBron James is a gifted athlete and an exceptional humanitarian. His mission truly mirrors ours and we are [pleased] to welcome him to the Audemars Piguet family,” said Philippe Merk, ceo of Audemars Piguet.
The athlete’s namesake charity is the LeBron James Family Foundation, which works with children and single-parent households dealing with adversity to build hope through education, physical fitness and better health.
“We saw the impact he has on kids and we wanted to be involved with that,” Bennahmias said. Audemars Piguet sponsored an event on Feb. 18 in Los Angeles, where James and Arnold Schwarzenegger launched the After-School All-Stars’ Hoop Heroes Program. That event raised $2 million, he said.
Bennahmias said that with its other brand ambassadors — who include Quincy Jones, Formula 1 driver Michael Schumacher, golfers Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, and the “God of cricket,” Sachin Tendulkar — the company has created a watch at the same time as unveiling the association. But with James, the watch will come at a later date.
“That is the first time this has happened,” Bennahmias said. “We will work with his charity and other children’s charities first.” And the watch launch? “Not in 2012, but maybe in 2013.”
Until then, he will “wear something from all our collections, not just the Offshore, which is a favorite of athletes. He dresses well and is stylish, so anything in the collection can work for him.”
James has committed to donate the proceeds from any future auctions of his timepieces to his foundation and its children’s-related activities.
“I am pleased to be working with such a prestigious brand as Audemars Piguet. We both strive for excellence in everything we do,” said James. “To collaborate with AP on an exclusive timepiece while helping my foundation and other worthwhile charities is a real honor.”
James, a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player, was selected as the number-one pick in the 2003 NBA Draft and has the distinction of being named the youngest-ever Rookie of the Year.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast