After sweeping the 2012 Olympic games and thereby securing his spot in athletic history, Michael Phelps introduced his new, allegedly retired self to the world in yet another speedo. Except this time, he was soaking in a small tub and being photographed by legendary fashion photographer Annie Leibowitz for a Luis Vuitton ad — the French fashion house’s signature bag sitting inconspicuously atop a towel nearby. In another photo from the shoot, Phelps sits on a couch in a three piece suit — probably the most clothing he’s ever worn for a public photo shoot.
Given the size of the tub (not to mention the lack of chlorine), Phelps is probably glad he didn’t have to share the water with Ryan Lochte this time around.
Phelps’ colorful and appropriately somber Louis Vuitton photo shoot punctuates his post-Olympics retirement life which already includes rumored reality television appearances and, most likely, a lot more “Call of Duty” binges. But the real question right now is why Ryan Lochte, Phelps’ fellow gold medal-winner, friendly rival, and Internet favorite, hasn’t found his way into some luxury-brand photo shoots as well alongside his impressive line-up of athletic endorsements and rumored television appearances.
Phelps’ hotly debated post-Olympics plans, meanwhile, remain unclear. Last May, Phelps made his intentions to retire after the 2012 summer Olympics clear. But less than a day after the closing ceremony, publications like Vanity Fair are already beginning to speculate on whether or not Phelps is really bowing out for good.