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Pierre Cardin's Been Busy Buying & Renovating Lacoste, Provence

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Pierre Cardin the label has, since the dusk of its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s, been licensed to the hilt (800 licenses and counting, for the record). But what has Pierre Cardin the man been up to in the years that have transpired? Why, renovating a huge chunk of Lacoste, Provence, of course.

The July-August issue of the WSJ Magazine, which arrives in the paper's weekend edition, includes a brilliant catch-up feature with Cardin—who, in the past few years, has purchased 40 buildings in Lacoste, including the 18th-century home of the infamous, legendary Marquis de Sade.

Since his arrival in Lacoste in 2001, Pierre Cardin has done his best to convert this outpost 25 miles east of Avignon into a "Saint-Tropez of culture," opening gallery spaces, a cafe-restaurant, a grocery store and an array of renovated guesthouses and apartments that will begin taking guests this summer. The cornerstone of his vision is the annual Lacoste Festival, held every July in memory of the Marquis de Sade, who was himself a maverick of the arts.

But Cardin's entree on the real estate market in Lacoste has been met with some resistance. The WSJ Magazine reports:

Not everyone in Lacoste has been thrilled by Cardin's new vision. His accelerating real-estate grab raised the ire of the left-leaning villagers, who had a Communist mayor for five decades after World War II. They vocally objected that his many acquisitions—Cardin often bought houses at up to triple market rate, even when they were in decay or ruins—were depopulating the village and stripping its rustic Provençal character. Accusing him of behaving like an arrogant feudal seigneur along the lines of Sade himself, many locals boycotted his cafe, boulangerie and souvenir store, all to the delight of visiting French newspaper and television reporters.
Check out the fascinating full story here, complete with photos and details on a sofa that looks like a potato chip.
· Ever wonder what Pierre Cardin has been up to? [WSJ]