By Scott Birch
On a glorious day in Dubai, out on the terrace of The One & Only Royal Mirage, ladies are lunching and the affluent are enjoying afternoon tea. Nothing unusual there. Then at another table, a rather dashing French gentleman is holding court surrounded by enough ladies to make up a netball team. Again, nothing so unusual there. But one thing did seem amiss.
Unless I was very much mistaken, all of the eight were smoking – the gentleman toking on a Clint Eastwood-esque cigarillo, the ladies daintily pulling on Gauloise (or so I would like to think). It was exactly as I had expected. After all, the contingent were in Dubai with the luxury Parisian brand ST Dupont, who specialise in, amongst other things, lighters.
ST Dupont has been around since 1872. One hundred and forty years later, and after a few false starts, the brand is now focused on four main pillars which it calls the Art of Living – writing instruments (that’s pens to you and me), lighters, leather goods and accessories.
Alain Crevet is the cigar-smoking, rock guitar-playing president who has helped to turn ST Dupont around after some lean years and an ill-fated departure into men’s ready-to-wear.
Going back to basics, Alain has brought the brand back to life and refocused attention on its strengths. And the brand itself is strong, particularly in the Middle East, where it has been operating for 60 years.
Alain and his netball team are here to showcase the latest products, aimed squarely at the female market and with a celebrity designer par excellence behind them. Karl Lagerfeld, the genius currently behind Chanel and Fendi, has created luxe lighters with a distinctly feminine feel (they look like lipsticks) and unique pens in the shape of his trademark fan.
Recently launched in Europe, this is the Middle East debut of the Mon Dupont range before Alain heads to Asia with his Lagerfeld loot.
An engaging, affable and refreshingly ‘cool’ president, Alain waxes about the wonderful lighters that are the ST Dupont signature and also the reintroduction of their bespoke luggage factory after a 65-year hiatus.
Interestingly, the last piece of the small production line in 1947 was a wedding gift for the future Queen Elizabeth II of England. The first piece produced at the new factory was an identical wedding gift for Prince William and Kate Middleton last year, at the request of President Sarkozy. Happy coincidence.
Steeped in history, with a clear focus and some handsome luxury items, expect to be hearing more about ST Dupont, especially in the pages of Concierge magazine.Tweet