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Charriol in a St. Tropez state of mind |

Fashion and Beauty

Charriol in a St. Tropez state of mind

FEAST WITH ME - Stephanie Zubiri - The Philippine Star

I was barely 16 and my mother had come to pick me up from a language immersion program in Toulouse; and because the sun was generous with its long days and golden warmth, we decided that summer was not over and the best place to go to relish it was Saint Tropez. So there we were, checked into the mythical Byblos, having crustacean and crudités lunches at La Voile Rouge, enjoying l’apéro en terrasse at the Cafe de Paris with cold rosé and tartines of crusty baguettes and shaved summer truffles — a glamorous farniente with her equally glamorous friends set deep within the local tropézien circle.

One afternoon, after getting deliciously brown by the Hellenistic hotel poolside, my mother and I, while preparing ourselves for a night out, were feeling rather peckish and decided to order some room service merienda. “Sevruga caviar with all the trimmings?” Sure. Why not? It was 1999, spirits were high, French francs were affordable and, well, after all we were in Saint Tropez. That evening was legendary, dancing aptly away like kings and queens at Les Caves du Roy. I watched emerveillée as the unofficial chaperone of the original Filipino jet-set crew, Lorrie Reynoso, Maurice Arcache and Eduardo “Nene” Lacson, reunited this one fabulous summer, showered in champagne, in this tiny but deliriously intoxicating town. My first true initiation to the world of nightlife and I did it in style: I did it in Saint Tropez.

 More summers came along and this time I was a newly anointed Parisienne. My fluent French accompanied by all the radiance of young adulthood and the right to inebriation. Once again with my vivacious mother and her friends, we rode around the town squashed in a small convertible Beetle, making our way to the infamous Nikki Beach where, after multiple magnum bottles of cold rosé, my mother was thrown into the pool by a few hunky Brazilians. We consequently all jumped in, cover-ups and all, and danced the afternoon away. It was early 2000 and the house music was excellent, the crowd was flashy yet fabulous and my mother had just successfully recuperated from serious brain surgery — here she was, three months later, looking smashing, laughing in the pool. The sunshine, the good people, luck on our side: there were just so many reasons to celebrate life! And Saint Tropez seemed like the perfect place to do so.

 I often went back during my years in Paris; my uncle lent me his flat and it was a rather easy escape from cold dreary Paris. In true Saint Trop fashion, on one of these many occasions I met Ivana Trump and had afternoon cocktails with Giorgio Armani who fell so crazy in love with my toy yorkie Cleo, he offered to buy her. However, amidst all this glitzy hobnobbing, much like other seaside towns where the glitterati come to make their HQ, there is a quieter more charming and local side to Saint Tropez. Sun-and rosé-drenched languid lunches at Chateau Minuty or relaxed Asian nibbles by Cabane Bambou, navigating the snaking roads that hug the rolling hills where the Mediterranean played peekaboo in between the trees — this town is about summer, not the season,  but the spirit that stays with you. It's that everlasting sunshine that warms your heart when you close your eyes in the middle of a hectic weekday, a memory of when things were light and happy — because how could it be otherwise? The sun was in your eyes, the wind was in your hair, the sea was your friend and time did not exist.

 This is exactly what Charriol’s new St-Tropez Style collection of watches and accessories embodies and what a few days in the beautiful island of Balesin successfully captured. Hosted by no less than Alexander Charriol himself, son of the brand’s founder Philippe Charriol, a carefree, artistic, fun-loving spirit and the country’s exclusive retailers of Charriol, Stores Specialists Inc., we converged by the sea, under a blanket of constant sunshine to live it up in true Saint Tropez fashion.

 The St-Tropez watch is already an iconic addition to the brand, with its mother-of-pearl bezel and attached chain bracelet. St-Tropez Style is a fully customizable version of this timepiece with different chains and clips that attach to the band. The accessories come in rose gold or steel with motifs and names that to me reflected the ultimate Tropezienne in her golden years — Brigitte Bardot. A chain with pearls called Gorgeous or one with a little bling called Starlet. Even the un-embellished with hearts and discs, respectively called Romeo and Double Trouble; and the ultimate embodiment, the endless infinity shapes of Sunny Days that even en ville will be a constant happy souvenir. The clips are similar in fashion, a romanticism that often lingers in the summer air — little disco hearts, lucky lovebugs, or, quite blatantly, the word “love” emblazoned across. The Tropezienne does not wear her heart on her sleeve, as she has none, allowing her lithe sunburnt arms the freedom to dance and wave her worries in the air. No, she wears it on her wrist, next to her timepiece so that every moment of her life may be filled with love.

 From sunset cocktails, sunny lunches, serenaded dinners and a taste of our own paparazzi with a photo shoot with Niccolo Cosme set against Balesin’s Saint Tropez Village, the evening culminated in an electrifying fashion show and crazy dancing party that exuded the glamorous, devil-may-care attitude of anyone who might be wearing this watch. (Getting thrown in the pool by hunky Brazilian models included.) It was as Saint Tropez as it could get. Personally, however, it was those quiet, worry-free moments by the sea, no matter how brief, that reminded me the most of this seaside town. Perhaps best crystallized in Charriol’s use of rose gold, ever so reminiscent of the crisp, pale pink Côtes de Provence that is so abundant by the French Riviera; the Ocean Echoes clips with little shells much like the ones you’d pick up during a leisurely seaside stroll: a memento of the eternal summer and Brigitte Bardot’s raspy voice singing La Madrague:


“Le soleil mon grand copain,

ne me brul’ra que de loin,

croyant que nous sommes ensemble

un peu fâchés d’être tous deux séparés.

Le train m’emmènera vers l’automne,

retrouver la ville sous la pluie,

mon chagrin ne sera pour personne,

je le garderai comme un ami.

Mais aux premiers jours d’été,

tous les ennuis oubliés,

nous reviendrons faire la fêtes

aux crustacés de la plage ensoleillée…”


(“The sun, my good friend, will only burn me from afar, thinking that we are both upset to be separated from each other. The train takes towards autumn, back to the city under the rain. My grief will be for no one, I will keep it like a friend. But on the first days of summer, all the troubles forgotten, we will come back and party with the crustaceans, of the sun-drenched beach…”)



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