Suite dreams: Inside Nathalie Dubois’ star-studded Cannes gifting lounge

By Michele Manelis

Viola Davis at Nathalie Dubois' Cannes gifting lounge. Credit: DPA Group.
Viola Davis at Nathalie Dubois' Cannes gifting lounge. Credit: DPA Group.
Who doesn’t love a gifting suite? If you’re anything like me, it’s one of the highlights of attending a glamorous event, such as the Cannes Film Festival.

CEO of Dubois Pelin & Associates (DPA) Nathalie Dubois, long considered ‘the mother of all gifting lounges’, was the first to establish a ‘suite cadeaux’ at the Cannes Film Festival, 19 years ago.

With her history of representing ultra-luxurious and exotic products, this year on the Croisette was no exception.  When you attend one of Dubois’ events, you’re sure to run into a celebrity trying out her wares. On entering the suite this year, at the JW Marriott, on the Croisette, you’re immediately handed a glass of Domaine de Nuisement champagne as well as several scoops of caviar by Nova (from Estonia).  There was a perfume bar, courtesy of American Escentuelle, and such treatments were on offer such as spray tanning (from Sunless Bronze by Annie Rouet) and injections and peelings (Botox, Exosomes, Hyaluronic acid, Stemcells and facials) provided by the Tokyo Clinic Haab.   

Faye Dunaway was one of many celebrities to sample wares at this year’s gifting suite. Credit: DPA Group.

Other interesting offerings included Dubois’ Japanese client, Hinomoto Foundation, who displayed traditional swords, jewellery and clothing (which you can see Viola Davis proudly wearing below).  Other brands such as Krama Heritage, Lothantiqur, Mathilde et Zoe, Beach Sandy, and Joorn Jewelry were included in Dubois’ array of gifts.  

Credit: DPA Group.

The France-born, L.A-based Dubois, who also runs lounges at the Toronto Film Festival, the Golden Globe Awards, and France’s Cesar Awards, says, “When I started twenty years ago, I did not think I would last 20 years. I became known as one of the best companies to produce these gift suites in the USA and the only one to host them worldwide. The format and guests remain the same, but these days we also incorporate influencers as they are now ubiquitous in most film festivals and award shows.”

Dennis Quaid. Credit: DPA Group.

With so many brands vying for her attention, she explains how she makes her selections, “I choose my products based on a few elements; it’s not only what I like but the brand has to be of high quality and have a great backstory.  These days, stars are given everything and so they need to be surprised.  Each event takes about three to four months for me to decide on what will be included, and 80 per cent of the time is devoted to research.”

Paul Schrader. Credit: DPA Group.

With countless events she’s produced over two decades, no doubt Dubois has some tales to tell.  “Yes, we’ve had a roof terrace fly away on Rodeo Drive, we’ve had rain leaking into our tent at the Venice Film Festival,” she chuckles. “Lots of stories.”


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