PARIS, France - In 1904, King Alfonso XIII os Spain granted a royal warrant to Cartier, the same year as Britain's King Edward VII. No wonder the latter once famously proclaimed Cartier as 'the jeweller of kings and king of jewellers'. This week Cartier celebrated its long history in Spain by inviting select guests to come to Madrid for the unveiling of Beautés du Monde its high jewellery collection for 2022.
It Was A Fittingly Palatial Setting
As temperatures reached a heady 40 degrees in the Spanish capital, the galla dinner celebrating the collection was held in the magnificent formal gardens of the Palacio de Liria, an 18th - century neoclassical palace, which is still home today to the Duke of Alba, head one of Spain's most important aristocratic families. The historic building boasts a world - class collection of art by the likes of Goya and Velasquez, as well as spectacular clocks and watches, including many - naturally - by Cartier. The palace's shaded veranda was the perfect location for a presentation of the collection before guests, who included Blackpink's Jisoo, actors Yara Shahidi, Vanessa Kirby, and Florenca Kasumba, and Emma Chamberlain. The models wore gowns designed specially for the occasion by Alvarno, a new Madrid fashion brand founded by designers Arnaud Maillard and Alvaro Castejon.
The Cartier Eye Has To Travel
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Cartier brothers, Louis, Pierre and Jacques, travelled the world, establishing relationships with international royalty and aristocracy, a move that made them a precursor of today's global luxury brands. Just as important to Cartier legend are the precious stones, treasures and design inspiration that the brothers brought back from their travels to the likes of India, Egypt and Russia. These spurred a run of creativity that established the unique Cartier style,a nd which has influenced countless designers ever since. That globetrotting spirit is one that endures today. 'It is our turn to look with curiosity at the wonders and diversity of the world', says Jacqueline Karachi, Cartier's creative director. She worked closely with Pierre Rainero, the Maison's director of image, heritage, and style, to establish this year's far - ranging them of seeking beauty wherever it may lie in the world - in nature, landscapes, culture and architecture.
Diverse Inspirations Are Given The Cartier Treatment
While myriad inspirations were the starting point for the collection's designs, they are unified in their bearing of Cartier's unmistakable style signature. Art - deco geometrical lines combines with bold form and colour, while hints of black onyx create a shadow, a contrast or enhance the colour of a neighbouring stone. While some themes are literal, others are abstract. In one - necklace, a fully articulated waterlily centuries on a large rose - pink rubellite with petals of diamonds edged with onyx in a cradle of lilac chalcedony beads. In another, the iridescent wing of a butterfly is abstracted in the form of a shimmering rainbow - effect fan of black opal, multicolor sapphires and diamonds. 'Everything is at the service of something they you want to touch, you want to smell, you want to play with', says Rainero. The bold forms and colour combinations in necklaces are balanced by earrings that delicately hug the ear, suggesting they could take on a life of their own and fly away.This is serious jewellery that is realised with a lightness of touch.
It's An Exercise In Innovation
The drive to keep pushing ahead in terms of craftsmanship is described by Rainero as 'the open eye of Cartier' which transforms its inspirations to 'create new forms, new shapes, new combinations of colours'. Cartier takes its century - old theme of the panther and creates a necklace that for the first time reproducers the creature's spots in abstraction by seamlessly setting tiny slivers of onyx into rock crystal tablets. The rich leaf green and salmon red of fluted emerald and coral beads in a reef - inspired necklace are given added depth with the addition of purple amethysts, their rounded forms twisting round a diamond core that can be enjoyed from every angle. And with Mexican actress Maria Felix's extraordinary Cartier snake necklace on display in Madrid, the reptile theme continues with an iguana - inspired necklace that echoes the hexagonal cabochon shape of its central emeralds in the overall design and in its scale - like geometric texture.
Competition Drives Creation
With an end to Covid restrictions and ever more jewellery - and fashion - houses entering the lucrative high jewellery arena, competition is hotter than ever for brands to attract the high net worth clients who can spend six - figure sums on a single piece of jewellery, as well as the stars with the global draw to spread its influence. Rather than being threatened by the increasing rivalry among the top houses, Rainero welcomes this new normal. 'I think it's fantastic in terms of creativity', he says. The strength of Cartier's identity is such, he adds, that it can keep going its own way as well as pushing ahead in terms of innovation. It suggests that the Cartier brothers' motto is still alive today: 'Never copy, only create'.