x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Stars are showered with gifts for gracing Diff

Exotic free trips, expensive jewellery, designer clothing and pricey perfumes ¿ nothing is too good for favoured ones who strut red carpet.

Gifts, many of them tasty, at The Talent Lounge in Al Qasr Hotel for the Dubai International Film Festival.
Gifts, many of them tasty, at The Talent Lounge in Al Qasr Hotel for the Dubai International Film Festival.

DUBAI // Some 150 celebrity guests of the seventh Dubai International Film Festival (Diff) will be showered with gifts worth thousands of dirhams at a designated "gift suite" in Al Qasr Hotel.

Week-long getaways to exotic destinations like Bora Bora in French Polynesia, jewellery, perfume and designer gowns are among the luxurious treats on offer in the gift lounge.

DPA, a company that looks after the so-called gift suites at film festivals in Cannes and Monte Carlo, and handles the Golden Globes and Emmy Awards in Hollywood, has joined forces with Diff for the fourth time this year.

The gift suite tradition is popular in the US and Europe, and major brands were quick to offer up their best products for the Dubai festival, including sunglasses from Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld valued at up to US$500 (Dh1,800) a pair.

Robert Wan, a specialist producer of Tahitian black pearls, contacted the DPA president and CEO, Nathalie Dubois, to offer Tahitian pearl necklaces for the red carpet, and gift one-of-a-kind pearl bracelets to the stars.

Audrey Tcherkoff, the general manager for Robert Wan in the Middle East, said seven strings of pearls - each valued at Dh650,000 - would be lent to stars to wear on the red carpet at opening nights. "Over the past few years, pearls have become more popular, and in the coming five years their value will boom even more," said Ms Tcherkoff.

One of the biggest gifts on offer is said to be a stay in the Maldives, courtesy of Jumeirah Group. "This will be a truly beautiful experience," said Mary Mclaughlin, the sponsorship director for the group.

Select guests can also nab a three-night stay in Bora Bora, provided by Bora Bora Pearl Beach Resort, French Polynesia. Or they might opt for a trip to Thailand, where Nikki Hotels is offering seven nights at Nikki Beach Koh Samui resort.

Keeping some local flavour is the Dubai-based family-owned chocolate company, ChoCo'a. Reem Bsat, the business development manager for ChoCo'a, said the company had gifted chocolate treats to the celebrities. "We mix Belgian chocolate with dates, saffron, figs and many more flavours."

For the fourth consecutive year, Ajmal Perfumes will be giving international celebrity guests their fix of Arabian scents. Each star will be able to choose up to three perfumes and Arabian oils.

Ms Dubois said 150 "gift suite" invitations had been handed to Diff organisers, who would then distribute them equally between Arabic, western and Asian stars.

"We wanted to be involved in the Dubai Film Festival because it is part of the big game. It is unique and exquisite," she said.

"That is why our gift selection has to be special. Our most popular gift is the Bora Bora trip, and spa treatments - and of course the jewellery."

Celebrity gift giving had become a well-oiled business, she said, because sales of anything that popular celebrities touched would increase.

"Brands like to target movie stars, and I believe this started in Japan. Stars have filmed commercials there for a long time, so it really took off from there," she said.

Other products up for grabs include gowns by the Brazilian designer Barbara Bela, valued at between Dh7,000 and Dh30,000.

Precise Group is offering to personalise gadgets, like mobile phones and cameras, with Swarovski crystals - a service that usually costs up to Dh1,400.

Complimentary spa treatments from Dubai-based Biolite Aesthetic Clinic promise to keep the stars looking red-carpet ready. Also expected to be a hit among the celebrities is a treatment inspired by Cleopatra: the 24-carat gold leaf facial, said to have natural healing properties.