VUITTON’S NEW STAR: Louis Vuitton is expanding in Sydney, but could it also be about to tread the boards Down Under? On Friday, Cate Blanchett will open the company’s new 13,000 square foot Maison on the corner of Sydney’s King and George Streets. Although Blanchett is described by an LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Australia spokeswoman as simply a “friend of the brand,” it will nevertheless mark the second occasion in three months that she has attended a Vuitton launch, after September’s Island Maison opening in Singapore. The last time Blanchett fronted up to an Australian retail event — during Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out in September 2010 — she was on the arm of Olympian Ian Thorpe at Giorgio Armani’s Sydney flagship a few doors down from Vuitton’s new digs.

At the time, Armani was patron of the Sydney Theatre Company, of which Blanchett and husband Andrew Upton are co-creative directors. Although Armani’s name is still listed on the STC Web site, the alliance has just drawn to a close, leaving Blanchett and Upton without a patron. Blanchett told WWD, “As patron, Mr. Armani’s personal gift to the Sydney Theatre Company represented a visionary commitment to our company across four years.” The STC declined to comment on the possibility of any future collaborations with Vuitton — while the LVMH Australia spokeswoman said there was no relationship with the STC “at this stage.”

This story first appeared in the December 1, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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