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Fashion's Pierre Cardin Renovates Entire Provençal Village

Here's a shocker: Pierre Cardin, the fashion designer who has openly bragged about the ubiquity of his own products—more than 800 licenses spanning 140 countries—has purchased 40 buildings (including the Marquis de Sade's former chateau) in the quaint Provençal village of Lacoste, France, and is renovating them to his liking. Cardin has grand plans to turn Lacoste into a cosmopolitan destination along the lines of St. Tropez, replete with galleries, a cafe, stores, a market, and guest houses for vacationers, all done up in his signature bold, colorful aesthetic. "I have created a world," he told the Wall Street Journal. "Whether you like it or not, that's another matter!"

Naturally, coming into a small, untouched European village and brazenly redeveloping it has its drawbacks. Lacoste denizens have most certainly protested, "accusing him of behaving like an arrogant feudal seigneur along the lines of Sade himself." At one point, Cardin had plans to fashion a bonkers golf course called "Le golf" that:

"was to be organically maintained and dotted with monumental modern sculptures, to attract year-round tourist traffic. But farmers accused Cardin of robbing the Lubéron of agricultural lands. Environmentalists charged him with wasting Provence's precious water resources."

The plans were eventually withdrawn, and after some grumbling he's now on to the next Big Thing. This idea, of course, seems equal parts smart and subtle:

"an almost 1,000-foot-high edifice called the Palais Lumière, the Light Palace, which he plans to build outside Venice. It appears more in the style of Dubai than Italy: Triple glass towers are linked by six giant discs and contain 1,200 apartments, restaurants, boutiques, swimming pools and a helicopter landing pad."

What, you got a problem with all that? Then Cardin has but this to say: "People criticize me because I do everything. I don't understand why I should limit myself to design. It's ridiculous!" Well said, friend!

· Ever Wonder What Pierre Cardin Has Been Up To? [WSJ via Shelterpop]