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September 3 2014

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21 posts tagged "Cartier"

In Paris, Cartier Shows Off Its Dazzling History

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Tiara

The exhibition Cartier: Le Style et l’Histoire opens tomorrow in the freshly restored Salon d’Honneur at the Grand Palais in Paris, and to say it’s dazzling would be a gross understatement. Overwhelming is the only fit description for the show’s richness and scope.

Upon entering this low-lit exhibit, the diamonds on which the jeweler built its reputation hit you between the eyes. Slowly spinning on a column is a remarkable display of tiaras worn by such royalty as Princess Marie Bonaparte and American high-society figures including Mary Scott Townsend, whose headpiece prompted one onlooker to comment, “But she wasn’t even royalty!”

Yet however regal Cartier’s origins, the purpose of this 600-piece exhibition is to show its evolution from “jeweler to the kings” to inventor of modern, radical style. Two early twentieth-century examples: the bold graphics of diamonds paired with onyx, and daring to show color combinations that were previously considered in poor taste (think sapphires and emeralds). The idea of shaking up the fine jewelry palette started when Cartier developed close ties with fashion, notably with the original haute couturier, Charles Frederick Worth. It further gathered momentum many years later, when Coco Chanel began mixing Cartier’s wares with semiprecious stones. A Deco evening dress by Jérôme, on loan from the Palais Galliera, adds further texture to an impressive array of everyday objects small and large, from cigarette cases and lighters to opera glasses, handbags, and clocks.

Crocodile

Two cornerstone gems are the 478-carat Sri Lankan sapphire, one of the largest in the world, which once belonged to Queen Marie of Romania, and the Berenice, a carved emerald of Mongol origin, which was mounted into a necklace for the International Exhibition of 1925.

And then there were Cartier’s clients, A-listers all. A rogues’ gallery of Café Society figures, loyal customers, and style-makers begins with major collector Daisy Fellowes, whose favorite tutti-frutti Hindu necklace was renegade in its day, and includes Marjorie Merriweather Post, Gloria Swanson, Elizabeth Taylor, and the original panther client, Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, as well as Barbara Hutton (who preferred tigers). Special displays pay tribute to Maria Félix, who is said to have brought live baby crocodiles into the Cartier shop to illustrate her commission. The jeweled result is on display.

Also shown are more familiar pieces, such as the Halo tiara, which the Duchess of Cambridge wore on her wedding day in 2011. The crown was originally commissioned in 1936 by the Duke of York, the future King George IV of England. So opulent is Cartier’s display that, by the time you catch Grace Kelly’s practically perfect 10.47-carat diamond engagement ring, it seems like the most demure piece in the world.

Photo: Courtesy of Cartier

After House Hunting In Aoyama, Acne Moves In

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“I like the residential feeling of the neighborhood,” said Acne’s Jonny Johansson, standing outside his new Tokyo flagship yesterday. “We wanted to build a house.” As they say in real estate, location, location, location. The Swedish label’s first sally into Japanese retail could hardly be better situated, amid not only residential buildings but also nearly every designer store in Christendom: around the corner from Herzog & de Meuron’s famous Prada store, Marc Jacobs, Cartier, and neighboring Jun Takahashi’s sublimely weird Undercover shop. The Aoyama space was formerly the home of Carla Sozzani’s 10 Corso Como. Acne now occupies half of the double-wide concrete building; Thom Browne is coming soon to the other half.

The store, some six months in the planning, increases Acne’s global footprint and joins its stores in New York, London, Berlin, and throughout Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Menswear occupies the basement; womenswear and accessories, the ground floor and the salonlike second level. For the space, Johansson and architect Andreas Fornell sourced materials from around the world—blue granite from Italy, stone from Brazil, rugs custom-cut to resemble fabric swatches—and created metal-mesh partitions that will become a prominent feature of brand stores going forward. (It creates “almost a lace situation,” Johansson said.) Johansson has a stickler’s—to put it politely; “obsessive’s” might be closer to the mark—eye for every detail and designed all of the furnishings inside with his team, from the three-legged marble stools to the fiberglass armchairs. If he can perfect the designs, he added, they could one day become part of the Acne offerings, too.

Acne’s new berth in Japan owes something to the label’s partner in the venture, Tomorrowland Ltd., the Japanese company that maintains both its own stores and franchises and partnerships in the area with labels like Isabel Marant and Dries Van Noten. The partnership, Johansson said, was the result of three years of romancing one another; Japan doesn’t want for corporations to franchise stores, but the right relationship couldn’t be rushed. “There are a lot of big companies here that do everything, from tractors to Mitsubishis,” he said. “But Tomorrowland is a family, which we like. They were very Japanese, but they understood us.” Judging from the throngs that mobbed the store opening last night, including everyone from top Japanese actors to photographers to boy-banders, the Tomorrowland family won’t be the only Japanese to get it.

Photo: Courtesy of ACNE

Cartier’s Clutch Hit

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Cartier might be better known these days for its Love bracelet or its Tank Anglaise watch, but back in the twenties, the French label had another highly coveted signature: its elegant evening bags, encrusted with jewels. The brand recently revisited its archives, and for the first time in ages, Cartier has just issued a new collection of lacquer clutches encrusted with gems inspired by those original bags. The clutches, made of crocodile skin, lacquer, and python and paved with diamonds, recently caught the discerning eye of our market director, Marina Larroude. Here, a first look at the bags ($1,500-$7,100) before they launch next month.

Photo: Courtesy of Cartier

Haute Chicks

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What girl wouldn’t love a Cartier diamond necklace or a pair of Van Cleef earrings? Few that we know. For his latest project, photographer Peter Lippmann, who counts fashion brands ranging from Cartier to Christian Louboutin as clients, toyed with that concept and dressed a slew of chicks (literally, chicks) in haute bijoux from high-end jewelry labels, including Van Cleef & Arpels, Buccellati, and more. Here, for your afternoon pick-me-up, check out these blinged-out birds dripping in diamonds and rubies for his new Luxury Chicks photo series.

Cartier, Now And Then

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The seventies were landmark years for the house of Cartier, a decade kicked off by two major events in 1969. That year, Richard Burton infamously gave c a 69.42-carat diamond from Cartier (the first-ever diamond to sell for more than $1 million), and Italian-American jewelry designer Aldo Cipullo created the iconic Love bracelet. Then in 1971, he designed the first nail bracelet, inspired by life in New York City, for the label.

Tonight, Cartier will unveil its new Juste un Clou jewelry collection (based on Cipullo’s original nail bracelet), in tandem with an exhibition that pays tribute to the late designer and his work, with a private party at the Cartier Mansion on Fifth Avenue. On display are the new rings and bracelets ($2,175 to $34,650), offered in various metals such as rose gold and white gold, along with roughly 40 vintage Cartier pieces, archival drawings, articles, and scrapbooks as part of the Cartier & Aldo Cipullo: New York City in the ’70s exhibition. Here (above), get a glimpse of the original nail bracelet and one of the new versions—which, by the way, we recently named one of our Top Ten Jewels of Fall 2012.

Cartier & Aldo Cipullo: New York City in the ’70s runs April 13 through May 8. Tours will take place daily Monday through Friday at 11 a.m. at the Cartier Mansion, 653 Fifth Ave., NYC, (212) 753-0111.

Photos: Vincent Wulveryck; Courtesy of Cartier