La Belle touts itself as the 'first superyacht designed for women'
Raises eyebrows over 'Barbie doll' portrayal of femininity
There are superyachts. And then there are superyachts for “ladies.”
Introducing La Belle, the 80-meter gold and crystal-encrusted superyacht described as a floating “boudoir for women,” by its female designer.
“There will not be any boy’s toys – such as pool tables or beer kegs – on board,” Italian designer, Lidia Bersani, told CNN.
“But there will be a fantastic spa with a beauty center, large mirrors, and huge wardrobes,” she said of the concept yacht, which she claims is the first designed specifically for women.
Diamonds are a girl’s best friend?
Bersani came up with plans for the five-deck La Belle because “I felt, as a lady, it was my duty to design something especially for us, where we can feel a woman’s touch.
“There will only be off-white, ivory, and cream colors. All surrounded by furs, silk, gold, pearls, crystals, live music, aromatics and flowers,” she added.
Not that all women are on board with Bersani’s “warm and romantic” bejeweled boat.
“I don’t know any woman who lives in a dream world where these things are desirable,” said Maria Jaschok, director of the International Gender Studies Centre at Oxford University.
“It feels somehow remote, like some sort of little girlish dream, traveling in that eternal pink cloud.”
Bersani, who also designs apartment interiors, defended the hyper-feminine yacht, saying: “I don’t know a single woman who does not like flowers and is not dreaming of diamonds.
“If you get married, the most amazing day in your life, you want to be dressed in an amazing white long dress, looking like a princess, with a gold diamond ring on your finger, around romantic music, happy people, and plenty of flowers.”
His and Hers
In the ultra-elite world of superyachts, female owners are practically unheard of, but that doesn’t mean women don’t have a huge influence over the spending of their billionaire partners.
“In terms of superyacht owners, I’d say they were upwards of 90% male,” said Rory Trahair, of superyacht brokers Edmiston.
“That said, superyachts on the whole are designed for the preferences of a couple – for their interests, design, style, and taste.
“And while the person chartering a superyacht is often male, the person in charge of the holiday is often his wife or girlfriend.”
Male or female, Trahair envisioned few clients looking to buy a “radical, gold yacht” such as Bersani’s.
“It could be regarded as patronizing – a bit like Barbie, where the assumption is that everything has to be pink,” said Trahair.
Earlier this year, plans were revealed for world’s biggest private boat – the $1 billion, 222 meter Triple Deuce. And they’re only going to become more lavish, according to Trahair.
“We’ve launched yachts in the last few years that have multiple pools, helipads, a squash court. There are few things now a yacht can’t have,” he said.
“Whereas a jacuzzi was a luxury in the early 2000s, now if you’ve got just one, it’s rather frowned upon. You need to have a few and you need to have an infinity plunge pool that doubles as a helipad.”
Whether there will also be a market for gender-specific vessels, remains to be seen.