A recent event has led to the coining of a new term, “boutique-ization”. And ‘coining’ it really is, involving currency amounting to millions of dollars. LVMH mogul and France’s richest man has turned the pretty port of St. Tropez into a bourgeoning luxury boutique land. “Bernard Arnault started by buying a small building where he set up a Dior boutique. And ever since, he buys everything that moves,” David Belity, a local shopkeeper, told Le Parisien. LVMH, the world’s largest luxury group, which has over 60 major brands under its belt is staking claims, besides Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and Moët & Chandon to now the French Riviera itself. Few graffiti artists replaced St Tropez with “LVMH City” on one town sign last year.
The police, however, were quick to spot the blunder and took the sign down. “Bernard Arnault’s group is taking advantage of the current mayor’s policy of giving property developers and private investors free reign,” quipped Dominique Bonnet, president of the St-Tropez Our Village association.
Residents of the town are disgruntled at the plight of the tinsel town going from bohemian to boutique-ian. The influx of surplus superfluity is marring the quaint lure of the Provençal destination “to which the world’s celebrities would flock”. Some wonder if it’s the Arnault- Pinault rivalry. François Pinault, France’s second richest man owns Kering, the luxury empire responsible for Puma, Gucci, and Stella McCartney. The two came head to head in a battle over Gucci, which as one can see, was won by Pinault.
However, the St. Tropez economy, 400 shy of a 6000 people population mark sees a silver lining in the black cloud, of boost resulting from profuse purchasing. A shop owner confides, “people weigh up the pros and cons, and in this time of crisis, they are more inclined to see the advantages.” What they do not comprehend are the riling repercussions then. With the laying of each new foundation, what could be tales of Tropez tradition, are buried beneath.
[Via – Telegraph]