x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Enter the 'gifting suite'

A Dubai hotel hosts a suite in which celebrities can leave with gifts valued at more than Dh148,000.

What do Ajmal, Natura Bisse, BabyBling, Sony, Karl Lagerfeld and Emilio Pucci have in common? High-end products, yes, but additionally their representatives are currently cohabitating in the "gifting suite" in Al Qasr Hotel, an adjunct to this year's Dubai International Film Festival. Organised by Natalie Dubois-Sissoko, who has become a veteran of the celebrity gift circuit, the gifting programme for the famous and the well-connected follows, albeit somewhat more modestly, a tradition that grew up around the Oscars and the Cannes Film Festival. Celebrities dropping by the suite in Dubai can exit with gifts valued at more than Dh148,000 (US$40,000).

Ajmal, the perfumery founded in India but now based in Dubai, offered a full-line of perfumes and oils, along with a detailed explanation by Syed Zuhair Haider Tirmazi on the origins of their scents. Sony did not send representatives but did send a number of PlayStation 3 video games consoles for celebrities who did not already own one. For those who did, a selection of the newest games was there for the choosing. Phillips was also on hand, its gift of a laptop to Terry Gilliam was widely promoted in the festival's daily publication.

"It is all about awareness and association," said Ajmal's Mr Tirmazi. "As for whether it actually makes money in the long run, I'm not sure. But being associated with celebrities allows us to spread our name around to Europe, America and Asia." Marchon, the sunglasses manufacturer that has used Dubai to launch the new sunglasses lines of Karl Lagerfeld and Emilio Pucci, is, as its representative explained, all about faces. "You don't have to be an actor. You can be a scientist, a writer, a painter, a businessman. It is about interesting faces," said the representative manning the Pucci chest of drawers.