Monte Carlo’s homegrown designer Lidia Bersani discusses her love for extravagant interiors and the feminine touch
Acclaimed designer Lidia Bersani made headlines this year when she announced her design concept for a super yacht exclusively for ladies. As a long-time designer of luxury goods, Lidia often finds herself drawing inspiration from the beauty of the female persona.
A familiar face of Europe’s elite society, the Italian-born designer spends a lot of her time these days in her studio in Monaco – home to some of the world’s super-rich and most powerful citizens – to work on a variety of concepts that celebrate the taste of glamorous women with an ultra-fashionable and global lifestyle.
“It is true that I mostly focus on designs about and for women,” she ponders. “In my projects you can often feel the woman’s essence as delicate, sensitive and obviously feminine as compared to strong masculine types.”
While she admits to her gender bias in design, she also says that either men or women can appreciate her lavish ideas or her over-indulgent imagination, but it’s the client’s desires that are ultimately served. “Luxury living has to be made-to-measure for the owners of the home. It has to correspond with their lifestyle, age, daily activities and habits.”
Bersani recently spoke with Property Report about her female-centric projects, favourite activities outside work, and where she might own a house someday.
Tell us about this super yacht for female millionaires that has everyone talking.
When I was conceptualising this project, I did not want La Belle to look like an ultra futuristic boat in minimalistic style. On the contrary, La Belle is opulently decorated, different from many other luxury yachts of today, and very recognisable from afar. It simply exudes feminine style. State-of-the-art features are also present in all of the yacht’s systems to ensure that the yacht owner and her guests would be provided with the highest quality of security and comfort.
For such an ambitious project, it must also carry a very hefty price tag.
You could say that! The price for one La Belle super yacht is around USD250 million, and the whole package will include one gold helicopter, a small submarine, plus other gadgets, toys, equipment and furnishings in absolutely top quality. At present we are considering three Europeans shipyards to build the first yacht, but it has not yet been decided definitively. At this time we are also in negotiations with a few prospective buyers, but no woman – or man – has finalised a deal as we speak, so we will build only one La Belle for now, and it will be unique.
Aside from super-rich females, what’s the target market?
The mega-wealthy men, of course! La Belle is the perfect present for any loved one. It could, for example, be an amazing alternative to the engagement ring. In fact, I believe that someday soon the concept of an alternative engagement ring will become very fashionable in the world of the wealthy.
What makes La Belle so special?
La Belle is honestly a beautiful super boat. It offers extreme luxury in each corner: full of gold, precious stones, pearls, crystals, and everything that girls dream about. The interiors are very warm, cosy and romantic. It is like a boudoir for women – an oasis of privacy and peace. La Belle also focuses on the entertainment, tastes and activities that are geared toward women. The colours are only off-white, ivory, cream and gold – some of my personal favourites. Everything in it makes each woman feel like she’s in paradise.
The style is very characteristic for La Belle, so it is not customisable. When my team starts customising the yacht, it risks looking like any other boat. La Belle is for somebody who will really fall in love with this style. But we can build it slightly larger, at around 10 to 15 percent, but not more.
You also design interiors of luxury villas and apartments. Do you have a favourite project?
It is difficult to say. I like all of my projects and each is unique, as my clients are different. For me, design is like an adventure; it takes me to new places, where I learn about interesting countries, people, cultures and cuisine. My clients and I keep in touch, and sometimes we meet up after we’ve finished a project and discuss new properties to design, which is a really nice feeling.
In terms of designs, is it difficult to adapt to different environments, such as a high-rise penthouse in the city, a waterfront villa, or a yacht?
You should first try to understand what you want to design in a specific environment. Then you start to think, imagine, and focus only on this one project. You forget about other things – as if the world stops spinning – and then everything comes very easily. So for me it is not a problem to design different kind of properties; I just need to direct my thoughts on a certain project. And, of course, all of it would not be possible without any knowledge, training, experience, a huge imagination, good taste and intuition.
We’ve noticed that your projects feature one-of-a-kind pieces that must have come from your own home fashion line. Tell us more about it.
Home fashion is one of my biggest passions in life. Decoration, after all, is the last level of furnishing your interiors. An interior may be amazing but in my eyes the design process is not over until all the furnishings are in place. I try to dress an interior like a beautiful woman would wear a dress and accessories. In fact, I like to think I create home fashion just like jewellery, which is why my curtains or carpets are often accentuated with fur, Swarovski crystals, pearls or some precious stones. I use only top quality fabrics like silk, jacquard and cashmere, mostly of them are designed by myself and handmade in very limited edition for unique clients. This is really haute couture home fashion and I use only my own collections for projects.
Can we expect to see any more of your creations hitting the high seas in the future?
Yes. I’m currently working on a new luxury project for women: a younger, smaller and much affordable sister of La Belle, but it is not a boat… Unfortunately I cannot tell more details until it’s finished!
Yachting is clearly one of your favourite pastimes, but what else do you get up to in your spare time?
I work… a lot. But I love to design, so even in my leisure time I find myself coming up with new ideas, whether it’s for my home fashion collections or other fashion lines for women and girls. Sure, it’s a lot of work and but I enjoy that it’s always with me. Outside of that, I always take part in the rich social life in Monaco, especially when sailing is included. I also have many friends and design clients in different places around the world, so I travel because of them. But when I really want solitude, my time is spent at home in the north of Italy near Monaco, far from all the noise of modern life. Right there I feel recharged. And when I travel for pleasure, I mostly choose new places that I’ve never been to, or warm locales next to the sea and far from the big city. I have still a few places on my list where I would love to visit.
Speaking of warm locales… would you consider buying a second-home in Asia?
Sure, why not? I like places where the weather is nice and has lots of sunshine – they energise me and make me happy. Maybe a luxury penthouse in Singapore or Hong Kong would suit me. A residence in a quiet, exotic place next to the sea, such as Phuket, would be also nice. Maybe one day I will decide to buy one of each!