Singapore Tatler - - CONTENTS - writes Kyla Zhao


Cartier re­veals a re­fresh­ing and edgy take on one of na­ture’s most enig­matic flora species. 144 Reed Krakoff has suc­cess­fully kicked off Tif­fany & Co’s re­ju­ve­na­tion with the Pa­per Flow­ers col­lec­tion. 148 Chanel’s new high jew­ellery col­lec­tion is in­spired by the coro­man­del screens in Gabrielle Chanel’s apart­ment. 152 Miki­moto cel­e­brates women with its lat­est cam­paign. 154 For Van Cleef & Ar­pels, luck means hope and in­spi­ra­tion. For oth­ers, the no­tion of luck takes a com­pletely dif­fer­ent mean­ing

French jew­eller Cartier re­veals a re­fresh­ing and edgy take on one of na­ture’s most enig­matic flora species with its jew­ellery col­lec­tion Cac­tus de Cartier,

Pas­sion has al­ways been the cor­ner­stone of in­spi­ra­tion for Cartier. In the mono­graph Cartier Daz­zling: High Jew­elry and Pre­cious Ob­jects, au­thor Fran­cois Chaille ded­i­cates an en­tire chap­ter, fit­tingly ti­tled Daz­zling To­kens of Love, to un­pack­ing this long-held as­so­ci­a­tion be­tween ro­mance and jew­els. He de­clares: “The art of Cartier is se­duc­tion, an in­vi­ta­tion to al­low one­self to be car­ried away in a heady whirl of in­tox­i­ca­tion, to be dizzied and daz­zled.” Cartier’s cre­ations are renowned for be­ing em­blems of ro­mance and sen­su­al­ity. There­fore, it took the jew­ellery world by sur­prise when in 2016 the mai­son re­leased Cac­tus de Cartier, a col­lec­tion of fine and high jew­ellery that de­rived its in­spi­ra­tion from the plant. The cac­tus has long been re­garded as a sym­bol of re­pul­sion, its phys­i­cal thorny form trans­lat­ing into an un­wel­com­ing, some­what vi­cious aura that is at odds with Cartier’s ro­man­ti­cised ob­jets d’art. In O Henry’s short story The Cac­tus, the pro­tag­o­nist Trys­dale pro­poses to his girl­friend and re­ceives a re­sponse in the form of the story’s tit­u­lar ob­ject, “a sin­gu­lar-look­ing green plant… with long, ten­tac­u­lar leaves”. He takes it as a sign of her dis­in­ter­est—can we re­ally fault him for think­ing that?—only to find out at the end of the story that the plant was in­tended as a love let­ter: its name Ven­tomarme means “come and take me” in Span­ish. But alas, it was too late for him to make amends, and their re­la­tion­ship crum­bled beneath the weight of this prickly mis­un­der­stand­ing. It ap­pears to many, as it did to Trys­dale, that there is noth­ing even re­motely amorous or ro­man­tic or even Cartier-es­que about this spiky, odd­look­ing plant. How­ever, the flow­er­ing cac­tus is hardly the first plant to pique the imag­i­na­tion of Cartier de­sign­ers, who have long been en­am­oured with na­ture. This was the in­flu­ence of Jeanne Tous­saint, Cartier’s head of fine jew­ellery from 1933 to 1970. Known for her im­pec­ca­ble taste and cre­ativ­ity, she helped in­ject into Cartier a more nat­u­ral­is­tic phase in­spired by flora and fauna, which was at odds with the geo­met­ric style of the art deco era. Flo­ral mo­tifs have resur­faced time and again in the brand’s col­lec­tions, from

the orchid in its Ca­resse d’or­chidées line, to the Edel­weiss corona­tion brooch for Queen El­iz­a­beth II in 1952. But in many ways, the desert flower’s stur­di­ness and prick­li­ness make it the an­tithe­sis to the dain­ti­ness that comes to mind when one thinks of “flower”. Yet, one can never ac­cuse Cartier of in­dulging in cliches. A flower, of­ten re­garded as flimsy, fragile and fleet­ing, is rein­ter­preted through a dif­fer­ent lens by the mai­son’s de­sign­ers. Not in the least bit ro­man­tic or over-sen­ti­men­tal, the jew­eller el­e­vates the blos­som’s in­her­ent fem­i­nin­ity to an un­fet­tered, pow­er­ful procla­ma­tion of en­ergy and desire. A quick ret­ro­spec­tive glance through the cac­tus’ pre­de­ces­sors in the Cartier gar­den— this­tle, wild rose, palm tree and iris, among oth­ers—re­veals that the brand has long held a soft spot for plants known for their free-spir­ited, mould-break­ing na­ture. The desert suc­cu­lent is sim­ply the lat­est in a long line of such flora in­spi­ra­tions. But while the orchid and edel­weiss are staples in our flo­ral lex­i­con, the cac­tus and its flow­ers re­main an enigma to most peo­ple, who are un­aware of the di­ver­sity within the species. Most flow­er­ing cac­tuses bloom only at night, and their flow­ers are short-lived— the Se­lenicereus gran­di­florus, for in­stance, is in bloom for only a sin­gle night ev­ery year. There is some­thing rather tragic about the fact that the plant is at its most beau­ti­ful when no one is around to ap­pre­ci­ate it. How­ever, it is now be­ing pushed to the fore­front of public con­scious­ness with Cartier’s cac­tus-cen­tred jew­ellery line. For all its pe­cu­liar­i­ties and mys­ter­ies, the desert plant makes for a gen­er­ous muse: it comes in dif­fer­ent forms, colours, tex­tures and struc­tures, pro­vid­ing in­spi­ra­tion for Cartier’s cre­ative masters. The pieces in the Cac­tus de Cartier col­lec­tion re­flect this stun­ning va­ri­ety; they cap­ture the se­cret beauty of this of­ten mis­un­der­stood plant from dif­fer­ent an­gles and per­spec­tives. The cac­tus’ thorni­ness might de­ter peo­ple from ap­proach­ing it, but now you can wear it close to your body in a mul­ti­tude of ways. At first glance, the Cac­tus de Cartier line ap­pears to be bursting with colours, tex­tures and strik­ing pro­por­tions. The cac­tus’ in­tri­cate botan­i­cal anatomy is ren­dered in stylis­tic ab­strac­tion in a bracelet set in yel­low gold, which fea­tures an ar­ray of chryso­prase dot­ted with emer­alds to recre­ate the prickly

leaves while jux­ta­posed against a sprin­kling of car­nelians and di­a­monds that have been mas­ter­fully sculpted to em­u­late the suc­cu­lent in full bloom at night. A cock­tail ring in yel­low gold fea­tur­ing bril­liant-cut di­a­monds ar­ranged into a dra­matic ge­o­met­ri­cal form, is rem­i­nis­cent of morn­ing dew­drops glit­ter­ing on the cac­tus’ bul­bous, fleshy stem. It is crowned by a clus­ter of lapis lazuli beads shaped into petals peek­ing out from the ring’s cen­tre, akin to a cac­tus flower shyly with­draw­ing into its bud once dawn beck­ons. But there is noth­ing shy about the de­signs of these state­ment pieces; they are meant to com­mand the viewer’s at­ten­tion. These vi­brant eye­catch­ers in the col­lec­tion are balanced out by their more dis­creet but no less charis­matic coun­ter­parts that carry with them an un­der­stated el­e­gance. A seem­ingly sim­ple neck­lace re­veals pearls and yel­low gold that have been wo­ven into tiered con­tours de­signed to sim­u­late the un­du­lat­ing curves of the squat bar­rel cac­tus. The slightly over­sized orb pen­dant is adorned with six bril­liant-cut di­a­monds to­talling 0.39 carats that have been bunched to­gether to form a blos­som that looks as spiky as it is sen­su­ous. A pair of hoop ear­rings, cov­ered in a dense thicket of shim­mery pink gold thorns in­ter­spersed with di­a­monds, is a sub­tle way of let­ting one’s re­bel­lious and quirky side shine through, in­stantly lend­ing an edge to any out­fit. With these new baubles, Cartier has made a very per­sua­sive case for the desert flower’s prickly charm. Much like how it stands tall and strong even in the harsh­est en­vi­ron­ments, the jew­eller stands a cut above the rest, set apart by its eye for the unique and its bold­ness in con­stantly think­ing out­side of the box.

PRICKLY PER­FEC­TION With tiers of di­a­monds, chryso­prase and lapis lazuli set in yel­low gold, this Cac­tus de Cartier cre­ation com­mands at­ten­tion, much like the ring (op­po­site right) in yel­low gold with di­a­monds and lapis lazuli

TRUE TO ITS ROOTS The Cac­tus de Cartier col­lec­tion trans­forms the hum­ble plant into a thing of pre­cious beauty

DOU­BLE DUTY Round­ing off this col­lec­tion is a sleek bag made of green al­li­ga­tor leather, topped with a dra­matic cac­tus clasp that dou­bles as a brooch

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