SIDE BY SIDE ... A SPARKLING STORY

Vivi­enne Becker on how Cartier and BAZAAR have gone hand in be­jew­elled hand through­out their daz­zling his­to­ries.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Watches & Jewels -

De­scribed by Ed­ward VII as the “jew­eller of kings and king of jew­ellers”, Cartier catered to roy­alty and high so­ci­ety.

On the strik­ing cover of the Novem­ber 1956 is­sue of US BAZAAR, an im­mac­u­lately man­i­cured fe­male hand, with long, slen­der fin­gers and cin­na­mon-pol­ished fin­ger­nails, reaches out to the reader hold­ing a note, promis­ing all man­ner of “New Riches”: fash­ion, furs, jew­els ... Es­pe­cially, it seems, jew­els. Set against a stark black back­ground, the woman’s wrist is en­cir­cled by a dramatic bracelet, a trail of smooth, oval coral beads, edged with di­a­monds. Each end is fin­ished with a sculpted gold and gem-set ram’s head, one with di­a­mond horns, the other with emer­alds. This ex­trav­a­gant jewel is a mas­ter­piece from Cartier New York, clearly in­spired by the ideas and imag­i­na­tion of Jeanne Tous­saint, the house’s leg­endary cre­ative di­rec­tor of jew­ellery from 1933 to 1970, when she re­tired at the age of 83.

Tous­saint’s in­flu­ence was and is still im­mense. Nick­named “La Pan­thère”, she gave life to Cartier’s pan­ther mo­tif, turn­ing it into an icon of 20th-cen­tury de­sign. She un­der­stood and even an­tic­i­pated the chang­ing ideals and val­ues of fem­i­nin­ity, and, as a strong, fiery, and in­de­pen­dent ca­reer woman her­self, dis­tilled them, bril­liantly, into thrilling jew­els.

Vi­brant with colour, sculp­tural vol­ume, and vi­vac­ity, un­der­pinned with mean­ing, cul­tural ref­er­ences, and nar­ra­tive, they be­came a pow­er­ful ex­pres­sion of per­sonal style. No won­der that BAZAAR, with Carmel Snow, an equally pow­er­ful and vi­sion­ary woman at the helm, found her work so ir­re­sistible; on an­other cover that same year, Au­drey Hep­burn is pic­tured in a black and white ze­bra-striped hat wear­ing lus­cious Cartier coral flower earclips.

But for me it is the ar­rest­ing graphic ef­fect of the “New Riches” cover, the el­e­gance of the woman’s hand, the “dash of dar­ing” pro­vided by the bracelet, that is the per­fect en­cap­su­la­tion of al­most a cen­tury of col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween BAZAAR and Cartier. For both the leg­endary Parisian jew­eller and the mag­a­zine are founded on a pre­cious her­itage that en­shrines val­ues and drives in­spi­ra­tion, that is the im­pe­tus for ev­ere­volv­ing, rest­less in­no­va­tion, and the creation of beauty, whether in the form of a fash­ion mag­a­zine or as ex­quis­ite jew­ellery, watches, and ob­jets d’art de­signed to cap­ture and re­flect a mo­ment in time ...

Cartier was founded in Paris in 1847 by Louis-François Cartier; and by 1899, his en­tre­pre­neur­ial grand­son Pierre was reg­u­larly vis­it­ing Lon­don to see clients who in­cluded the Duchess of Manch­ester and, a few years later, Queen Alexandra. De­scribed by Ed­ward VII as the “jew­eller of kings and king of jew­ellers”, Cartier catered to roy­alty, aris­toc­racy, and high so­ci­ety —in­clud­ing the Hon. Daisy Fel­lowes, BAZAAR’s Paris cor­re­spon­dent in the 1930s. Un­sur­pris­ingly, there­fore, Cartier pieces fea­tured reg­u­larly on the pages of the mag­a­zine from the late 1920s, both as ed­i­to­rial and in fash­ion shoots as well as ad­ver­tise­ments. In this mu­tu­ally cre­ative ex­change of ideas and in­spi­ra­tions, stim­u­lated by Cartier’s inim­itable style, BAZAAR’s fash­ion ed­i­tors used the jew­els to cre­ate mem­o­rable, of­ten iconic vi­sions of con­tem­po­rary fem­i­nin­ity. For the March 1931 is­sue, a fea­ture on day­time jew­els ad­vo­cated team­ing long turquoise flo­ral drop earrings with a clip pinned to a black tri­corne hat, and sug­gested that coral or­na­ments would work well with the “shrimp” pink that was then all the rage. Cartier jew­els were also a vi­tal in­gre­di­ent in BAZAAR’s cel­e­brated so­ci­ety por­traits: for the Fe­bru­ary 1932 is­sue, Baron de Meyer pho­tographed Mar­quise de Casa Maury wear­ing a spec­tac­u­lar di­a­mond rose ban­gle; in the fol­low­ing year, Bar­bara Hut­ton, one of Cartier’s most de­voted clients, posed for BAZAAR in her tiara, and for June 1936, Man Ray pho­tographed the Duchess of Wind­sor wear­ing a Main­bocher Chi­nese din­ner dress, her fa­mous cross charm bracelet, chart­ing the course of the royal ro­mance, just vis­i­ble un­der her sleeve. Here was ex­tra­or­di­nary sto­ry­telling through jew­els and im­ages.

In 1934, Cartier tapped into BAZAAR’s so­ci­ety con­nec­tions with the So­cial Oc­ca­sions Se­ries of wit­tily evoca­tive il­lus­trated ad­ver­tise­ments, one a month, each de­pict­ing an as­pect of so­cial life, in­clud­ing ‘An

En­gage­ment Re­cep­tion’, ‘Mummy Dresses for the Party’, ‘Some­where-on-Sea’, and ‘A Mar­riage has been Ar­ranged’. The so­ci­ety wed­ding, and how to nav­i­gate it in style, was mu­tu­ally fruit­ful ter­ri­tory. BAZAAR cov­ered every as­pect of mar­i­tal dress­ing and eti­quette, while Cartier was the des­ti­na­tion for en­gage­ment rings, wed­ding jew­els, and presents, which were al­ways on dis­play. As Eve­lyn Waugh re­ported in April 1938 in his ar­ti­cle ‘Wed­ding Presents’, these were among the prime at­trac­tions at any so­ci­ety nup­tials. In the same is­sue, a fea­ture en­ti­tled ‘For the Bride’ noted “the groom may choose his gift to the bride from any num­ber of places, but should Cartier be his happy hunt­ing ground, it will only be a ques­tion of which of the many jew­els to take!” Sug­ges­tions in­cluded “en­chant­ing” clips in gold, set with gems to look like flower pots, enor­mous cab­bage roses, clus­ters of mixed blooms “à la Con­stance Spry”, and mono­chrome jew­els of black lac­quer and di­a­monds.

Through the 1930s, the ma­jes­tic tiara lit up BAZAAR’s pages, the ul­ti­mate sym­bol of fem­i­nine status. Cartier Lon­don ex­celled in the most dar­ing, ex­otic cre­ations, such as the “Si­amese” one that curled around the ears, as pic­tured in a 1931 style com­men­tary by Baron de Meyer. Tiaras were oblig­a­tory, of course, for the 1937 Coro­na­tion, tak­ing pride of place among the 10,000 or so de­signs recorded in Cartier’s stock books. But from that time on, jew­ellery fash­ion be­gan to evolve, with a seis­mic shift away from cool, stream­lined plat­inum and di­a­monds to­wards huge, con­fi­dently ef­fer­ves­cent “cock­tail” jew­els with sweeps and swirls of sun-yel­low gold stud­ded with coloured stones: wartime com­pro­mise made glam­orous. “Paris gives you chunky jew­ellery,” BAZAAR told read­ers in 1945, fea­tur­ing mod­els wear­ing chic Cartier pieces in­clud­ing a colos­sal stylised flower, pho­tographed by François Kol­lar; the Fe­bru­ary 1947 cover of BAZAAR shows four cock­tail rings from Cartier Paris, each piled high with ab­stract ribbed, swirled, or twisted yel­low gold, dot­ted with sap­phires and ru­bies, one de­signed as a sky­scraper in an ode to New York and its in­flu­ence on jew­ellery styles. In­side, the mag­a­zine cre­ated “the new al­ti­tudi­nous di­men­sion for a ring and the hand that wears it”. This look, con­fi­dent and forthright, is echoed in to­day’s vi­brant, jaunty Cac­tus de Cartier col­lec­tion.

Dur­ing the 1950s, BAZAAR worked with great pho­tog­ra­phers such as Richard Ave­don to cap­ture the essence of el­e­gant high jew­ellery, its re­fine­ment in­flu­enced by the new golden era of couture. In 1951, a Cartier di­a­mond neck­lace de­scribed as a “glacial river of di­a­monds” was rec­om­mended as a way of thor­oughly “ic­ing” the most de­li­cious evening dresses, while the mai­son’s ex­pres­sive di­a­mond brooches pro­vided the “daz­zle” in iconic fash­ion shoots, their ex­u­ber­ant, lilt­ing leaves, flow­ers, and swirling clus­ters pinned onto ex­quis­ite gowns by Worth or Main­bocher, the brooches of­ten worn in pairs and in un­ex­pected places, the back, the shoul­der, waist, or on ei­ther side of a neck­line, punc­tu­at­ing a soignée so­phis­ti­ca­tion with a dash of scin­til­lat­ing au­dac­ity. At the same time, in 1953, the work­shops of Cartier Lon­don were putting the fin­ish­ing touches to a sub­lime di­a­mond flower brooch cre­ated for the newly crowned Elizabeth II, which cen­tred on the stag­ger­ingly rare and beau­ti­ful Williamson pink di­a­mond, a gift from the owner of the mine in Tan­za­nia where it was un­earthed. The brooch, still one of Her Majesty’s favourite jew­els, makes an ap­pear­ance as a mod­est en­try in the Cartier stock books for that year.

Flora gave way to fauna; by the 1960s, the mag­a­zine’s pages were alive with charis­matic char­ac­ter­ful crea­tures, from Cartier’s iconic preda­tory pan­ther to marinethemed jew­els, fea­tured in May 1968 and sig­nalling a fig­u­ra­tive style reprised for decades to come.

In the 1970s, Cartier’s mas­ter­ful moder­nity was rooted in New York, in the trail­blaz­ing de­signs of Aldo Cip­ullo, the cre­ator of the Love ban­gle and Juste un Clou, the revo­lu­tion­ary, an­drog­y­nous hard­ware “day­time or any­time” jew­els, that pul­sated with the beat of Stu­dio 54, and were per­fectly in tune with so­cial, cul­tural, and artis­tic, youth-fu­elled re­bel­lion. Both de­signs are now en­joy­ing a re­vival, fit­ting with to­day’s gen­der­fluid mood and rein­vig­o­rated with new it­er­a­tions.

Look­ing through the archives at Cartier and BAZAAR, it is il­lu­mi­nat­ing to see how that cre­ative col­lab­o­ra­tion con­tin­ued to thrive, as the two brands re­sponded to and, in­deed, fore­saw the dramatic changes in the way in which their fe­male clien­tele dressed, worked, dreamed, and lived their lives.

Over the decades, the fo­cus for both shifts from roy­alty and aris­toc­racy to mod­ern mer­i­toc­racy and a new client: a multi-task­ing working woman. Cartier’s dy­namic “bou­tique” con­cept, Les Must, launched in the mid-Sev­en­ties to ap­peal to this new breed: the Lon­don Must bou­tique, at the back of the Bond Street store, was her­alded as a “breath of youth on Albe­marle Street”. On the same taboo­break­ing path, in the post­fem­i­nist 1980s, BAZAAR ac­ces­sorised denim with dramatic Cartier jew­els that women could buy for them­selves, and chan­nelled Nineties min­i­mal­ism into the pared-down, es­sen­tially pu­rity of the di­a­mond. In De­cem­ber 1992, BAZAAR ex­plained how di­a­monds were no longer a “means to daz­zle” but more a “pri­vate plea­sure”, to be worn with the same ease, com­fort, and fa­mil­iar­ity as a favourite sweater, il­lus­trat­ing the point with a shoot fea­tur­ing stacked Cartier di­a­mond bracelets. Cartier jew­els adapted, chameleon-like, to fea­tures and pho­to­shoots high­light­ing trends from street style, through to satin slip evening dresses, to the rap­per’s gold bling, un­til the new mil­len­nium ush­ered in an age of mega-gems and the rise of the couture spirit of high-jew­ellery col­lec­tions, richly lay­ered with cul­tural ref­er­ences, alive with sto­ry­telling, show­cas­ing the world’s rarest, most in­trigu­ing and at­trac­tive gem­stones, and cel­e­brat­ing the art of crafts­man­ship.

Ac­cord­ing to Pierre Rainero, Cartier’s im­age, style, and her­itage di­rec­tor, the brand uses its own rich his­tory not as a “model” to be im­i­tated, but as a pre­cious store of val­ues, a sin­gle vi­sion, a liv­ing vis­ual lan­guage to be con­tin­u­ally en­riched, rein­ter­preted, and con­tem­po­rised, for each new gen­er­a­tion, each shift, and evolv­ing mood. Cartier has in­stinc­tively un­der­stood that jew­els are and have al­ways been a barom­e­ter of fem­i­nin­ity and the most pow­er­ful ex­pres­sion of in­di­vid­u­al­ity and per­sonal style, in the same way that BAZAAR has mir­rored mod­ern wom­an­hood, told their sto­ries, and en­larged their bound­aries. Their con­nec­tion is price­less.

Earrings with emer­alds, sap­phires, and shim­mer­ing opals, Cartier

An iconic 1958 BAZAAR cover, fea­tur­ing a Cartier cock­tail ring with fan­ci­ful gems

Mix­ing and match­ing with ru­bies and di­a­monds for the hol­i­day is­sue A mag­nif­i­cent ruby ex­alted by di­a­monds and onyx

High jew­ellery neck­lace from the mai­son’s lat­est Magi­cien col­lec­tion Cock­tail ring with emer­alds, ru­bies, and sap­phires in the mai­son’s iconic Tutti Frutti style

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