Deauville dream

A beach paradise like no other, where the seaside town’s sophisticated society life, fantastic architecture and rich history demand attention. Welcome to Deauville.

Deauville, o Deauville. Scene of films, world-famous pictures and extravagant parties of the rich and famous. A place with a rich history. It is no coincidence that Summum chose this very seaside resort as the backdrop for its new summer collection. Because where better to showcase the French je ne sais quoi of style icons like Jane Birkin and Catherine Deneuve than here?

Deauville is located on France's Normandy coast. The place gained international fame in the late 19th century, when it received a direct train connection to Paris at the hands of the Duke of Morny. Until then, Deauville had been little more than a rustic farming village, but that easy route to the coast made it the favourite destination for Parisian high society and foreign aristocrats. Needless to say, there was a lot of construction to cater to all the guests from afar, and it is that Belle Époque architecture which gives Deauville its unprecedented grandeur and majestic appearance – nowadays also with a little help from all the luxury boutiques and popular restaurants with a world-famous clientele. What has definitely put Deauville on the map as the place to spot film stars at parties – or with a bit of luck: in the wild – is the annual Festival du Cinéma Américain de Deauville (Deauville American Film Festival), founded in 1975. It is the second most renowned film festival in Europe after the Cannes Film Festival, designed to showcase American cinema. The festival attracts thousands of cinephiles every year, and many young upcoming talents have been discovered here.



Yet the stunning architecture, metreslong pearly white-sand beaches with the photogenic boardwalk with changing booths and fashionable parties are not the French coastal town’s only attraction. Indeed, Deauville also has a rich history associated with several iconic names in art and fashion. Famous fashion designer Coco Chanel opened her very first boutique here in 1913, on Rue Lucien Barrière. This venue marked the beginning of her revolutionary style, in which sailor jumpers, tweed and jersey set the tone for a simple, bold look that freed women from their hitherto literally tight straitjacket, with constricted bodice and long skirt. ‘In their harness where the bosom bulges and so does their rear, tightened at the waist until they are almost halved,’ Coco Chanel disdainfully describes that look. Chanel’s high-profile designs still resonate, especially in a seaside resort like this one, where the Breton striped jumper is considered a forever basic that, with the right styling, elevates you from casual to subtly chic in no time. The house of Chanel also retains its Deauville connection, as evidenced by the shoot on the beach, a few metres from where Summum shot its summer 2024 collection.


Another big fashion name intertwined with this region is that of Christian Dior, born in nearby Granville – once known as a notorious pirate town. Christian Dior was far removed from tough sailor circles. He grew up in a wealthy family and, like his mother, had a huge love for art and colourful gardens. While his family was keen for him to study political science, Dior chose a different career path: that of fashion. He started his own fashion house in 1946, only to astonish the world in 1947 with his very first fashion show presenting his iconic New Look: a wide skirt with tightly tailored jacket on top, a return to the hyper-feminine silhouette that Coco Chanel had freed women from years earlier. Dior’s New Look became an instant hit. Especially in the early years of his career, Dior was inspired by fashionable Deauville and its timeless elegance. The colourful art and flower gardens of his youth have remained a constant factor in his designs. That other lover of colour also fell for Deauville’s charms. Yves Saint Laurent bought the Château Gabriel near Trouville with his partner Pierre Bergé in 1983, tired of the constant heat in Marrakech, where the couple had holidayed every year since 1966. ‘We adored the view one – of the most beautiful views in the world. The light in Deauville is magnificent,’ Bergé said of their home on the French coast.


The famous painter Claude Monet knew like no other how to capture that magnificent light on the Côte Fleurie with his brushes. The Impressionist often painted scenes of the bustling beach life that had emerged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. As did his colleague Boudin, who praised Honfleur’s clean air. That atmosphere of those days – still to be admired in the paintings of the great masters – can be found in Honfleur and Deauville. Just walk along the boardwalk by the beach (the famous Planches) with the changing booths with names and the rows of coloured umbrellas and private tents. You won’t find a more beautiful Art Deco scene than here.