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Louis Vuitton losing luxury luster

LV's lead slips in brand rankings as Prada and Gucci come on strong. Does China have something to do with this?

Fading. Louis Vuitton's brand value plunged 12 percent to a mere $22.7 billion. Above, a little LV corner shop in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

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As the old song might have it: Louie, Louie, oh baby, brands come and go.

It's not quite that bad for Louis Vuitton, but the French vendor of swanky handbags, shoes, jewelry and other fashion items is losing some of its shine.

While LV remains the world's number one luxury brand, Prada and Gucci are rapidly gaining ground, according to a new global brand report by Millward Brown Optimor as reported by Bloomberg.

Vuitton, part of the LMVH Group that peddles other highfalutin stuff like Moet & Chandon champagne, Dior perfume and TAGHeurer watches, now has a brand value of a mere $22.7 billion. That's down 12 percent - bagloads for this sort of thing - from a year ago. It managed to keep ahead of number two Hermes, which held steady with a $19.1 billion brand value.

But the world's fashion snobs are increasingly adorning themselves with Gucci and Prada wares. Gucci surged 48 percent to $12.7 billion, earning the number three spot, while Prada soared 63 percent to a brand value of $9.45 billion, ranking fourth.

It seems that Vuitton's rivals "are better managing the trade-off between exclusivity and affordability," Bloomberg writes, citing the report. Another factor:

“Prada’s brand awareness in China, Russia, Brazil and the Middle East continues to rise,” said Anastasia Kourovskaia, vice-president of Millward Brown Optimor EMEA.

The rankings were part of Millward Brown's broader set of global standings called BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand. Apple topped all at $185 billion, followed by Google, IBM, McDonald's and Coca-Cola, in that order.

Luis Vuitton ranked 29th overall, just ahead of Samsung, which surged 51 percent in brand value to $21.4 billion. Facebook tallied 31st, having plunged 36 percent in value to $21.2 billion (click here for a full set rankings).

Rolex, Chanel, Cartier, Burberry, Fendi and Coach rounded out the Top 10 luxury companies. For some reason Wal-Mart didn't make the luxury cut (although they finished a solid 18th among all global brands, at $36.2 billion). I think I'll still buy my classy socks there.

Photo from Wikimedia

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com