Spotting a gap in the offshore survival business, the French luxury goods manufacturer Louis Vuitton has launched a line of high-end ‘guest’ liferafts.
The rafts, capable of taking up to 12 guests and four crew (for rowing, bailing, and serving drinks and canapés) come complete with a flambé station, champagne coolers, and a small, tasteful chandelier made of shatterproof glass.
“Just because your yacht sinks doesn’t mean the party stops,” said a Louis Vuitton spokesperson at a recent unveiling of the calfskin leather rafts, in Borneo bamboo containers. “If anything, this is when the wealthy will most need their creature comforts. Such as a resplendent, built-in wardrobe of waterproof, wrinkle-free suits and ball gowns, a folding string quartet to set the mood, and a roving magician who will feed the circling sharks with rabbits from his hat.”
Starting at $500,000, and requiring monthly checks to replenish the caviar and test the air conditioning, the versatile rafts are modular in nature. This feature was added to make it possible to join to other rafts, from one’s own vessel or belonging to another yacht were one unluckily lucky enough to be involved in a maritime disaster with a vessel also equipped with suede-carpetted escape floats.
While admitting that making the rafts proved a major design challenge, Fabio Fabricio, head of the new Luxury Safety division at the eminent fashion house, calls the experience a fabulous one.
“Yes it was difficult, and some called us crazy, and many other names. Really, the largest battle was with the class society safety inspectors, over their concerns about having electrical outlets in a life raft. To which I very simply asked: How else are you supposed to blow dry your hair darling?”
***To be clear, none of this is true.***