When Adrien Brody is at Cannes, he makes it his first stop, and Sharon Stone drops by whenever she is in town. Indeed, the DPA Gift Lounge is where most of the Cannes Film Festival movie delegations opt to spend their free time while attending the most prestigious cinema event in the world.
Jimmy Choo, newly owned by Michael Kors Holdings, has dropped out of the VIP gift and lending suite game this year in Cannes, while Swarovski, Dior and Chanel offer to showcase the celebrities wearing their product only on their own social media accounts. However, Nathalie Dubois of the DPA Gift Lounge generously opened the ultra-secret doors of her magical world of celebrity gifts for The National. Taking a look around the three-room suite inside the legendary Carlton Hotel is not for the faint-hearted.
The big news this year at the DPA Gift Lounge is hydrogen. Apparently H2 is even better for us than oxygen, and Tokyo-based company Gaura has an entire line to prove it. From water dispensers and portable facial-mist sprayers to bubble baths and wrinkle-reducing facial towelettes, Gaura is injecting H2 into objects and rituals that are part of our everyday lives.
I try the hydrogen water and, as promised by the Gaura representatives present, it tastes smoother and more refreshing than regular water, making it a perfect companion while working out or for hydrating on a plane. Hydrogen-infused water is said to improve fat and glucose metabolism, and is full of antioxidant properties.
From the cutting-edge techniques of water therapy, courtesy of the Japanese, I move on to Chinese jewellery company Lai Wei, where antique pieces are blended with new gems and stones to create truly unique jewels. Laborious ancient techniques, such as the use of kingfisher feathers mounted in gold, form the centrepieces of necklaces framed by coral and pearls fit for modern princesses. Even the celebrities will be allowed to only borrow these exquisite pieces, to wear for photocalls or on the red carpet.
But the stars won't walk away from the DPA Gift Lounge disappointed because there are quite a few trips to locales such as Rajasthan, Bali and Tahiti up for grabs. These will be handed out to the VVIPs only, so when stars such as Cate Blanchett and Kristen Stewart, both on the jury at this year's festival, drop by, they will be able to arrange their next vacation, as they refresh themselves with hydrogen water.
Beauty products are always a favourite at gift lounges, and the selection here doesn't disappoint. It features Swiss skincare by Jacqueline Piotaz, which offers a complete range of facial products using plant stem cells, plus a wonderful product with a heart: the Blush & Whimsy colour-changing lipstick.
Think of it as a mood lipstick, because it glides on smooth and creamy, and stays on in a semi-matte consistency, lighter or darker according to your own unique pH levels. Yet the magic of this product doesn't end at its sheer beauty – the mission of the company is to hire more than 80 people with disabilities who produce the lipsticks, empowering them through employment.
The perfume corner at the lounge belongs to Berlin-based, French-produced Urban Scents, whose imaginative fragrance combination of oud and fig in its Singular Oud perfume creates an unexpected twist on the Arabian favourite. The company also makes an androgynous rose fragrance that is simply delicious.
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Costume jewellery from El Salvador company Lula Mena blends traditional techniques with eco-friendly, fair-trade processes to design and develop sustainable fashion accessories. The earrings feature old electric-company copper wires, while for the elegant pochettes, they use recycled car tires.
Leaving the sweetest for last, on the way out of the DPA Gift Lounge, I stop by the delicious Franck Deville stand, featuring sweet and savoury macarons, in flavours that range from fig and onion compote to goat's cheese and pepper, also touching on pistachio, lychee rose and orange blossom. All simply, elegantly yummy.
The DPA Gift Lounge is open during the Cannes Film Festival, inside the Carlton Hotel, until May 19