Le Palais Bulles

May 19th, 2015  |  Published in May 2015

Over the past several weeks, luxury brands have traveled from one end of the world to another, showcasing the new batch of cruise collections. Cruise or resort wear were originally created to give jet-set luxury customers pieces they could wear on their warm weather holidays abroad. But with the ever-increasing need for new product, luxury brands now present their twice-yearly cruise collections as transition periods between the two major seasons on the fashion calendar. Customers are given new pieces to add to their wardrobe and brands stay on selling floors longer.

For Cruise 2016, each show locale made an impact on the look and feel of its corresponding collection. Louis Vuitton set up shop in Palm Springs at the home of famed entertainer Bob Hope with a “sweet and hard” collection befitting the estate. Chanel played with the idea of Korean pop with a vibrant show in Seoul. And although famed fashion label Dior did technically stay within its French borders to unveil its own cruise collection, the show was a long way from the streets of Paris.

Choosing the sun-drenched Mediterranean town of Théoule-sur-Mer gave the brand the opportunity to showcase the clear difference in lifestyle between Paris and the south of France. The show took place in Le Palais Bulles, a house of no corners and lovingly referred to as The Bubble House. It was which created by architect Antti Lovag and is now owned by masterful couturier Pierre Cardin.

Guests were invited to play pétanque as the inhabitants of southern France so often do as they entered this unique location. Once seated, they soaked up the hot sun in an open-air in the round format as they waited for Dior designer Raf Simons to showcase his newest work.

Since becoming head of the label, every offering from Mr. Simons under the Dior name has been analyzed in minute detail. Is he honoring the Dior heritage? Is he bringing his own spin? And, if so, how is that defined? Simons has met this flurry of questions time and again with lines that beautifully combine his sleek design sense with a welcome re-birth of what made Dior great: Not the brand Dior, but the man himself.

And in the stunning sunlight beaming off the bubble architecture of Le Palais Bulles, a light and airy collection for Dior’s cruise customer was unveiled. “I wanted an idea of freedom, playfulness and individuality to come to the fore in this collection, especially in consideration of the Dior archive,” Simons said about the collection. Playful seems to be the word du jour to describe this collection and the designer made clear that this playfulness was inspired directly by Le Palais Bulles.

He stayed true to Dior’s architecture, while showing a literal shedding of the heaviness of winter in the collection. He specifically used a mixture of textures and fabrics like plaids, netting, and Lurex to illustrate this point and give a further nod to the people of southern France. Even the famed Dior Bar jacket was re-introduced, but made less formal by pairing it with shorts and flip-flops. Overall the collection was, a jolt of fresh air that gave the impression overall that the collection and the people wearing it could breathe.

The choice of Le Palais Bulles clearly helped defined the attitude of this collection and it begs the question of what came first: the idea to have a more lighthearted collection evoking the South of France or having this show at Cardin’s famed Bubble House and then create a collection around its sensibilities?

Either way, it’s clear that his heart is in Théoule-sur-Mer. His heart and every fiber of his being.

–Jenny Perusek

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