Cartier's new Singapore flagship boutique is a vision of luxury

  • Style
  • Wednesday, 05 Dec 2018

The famous panther brooch created in 1949 for the Duchess of Windsor.

Nothing short of an unparalleled experience will do in the world of Cartier, and it’s with that idea in mind that the luxury maison reopened a new flagship boutique at Ion Orchard in Singapore, the largest in South-East Asia.

A collaboration between well-known Parisian artist designer, scenographer, painter and photographer, Bruno Moinard, the three-storey boutique combines French art de vivre with references to Singapore.

In an interview with Star2 prior to the opening, regional managing director – South East Asia & Oceania, Jérôme Metzger says, “The idea was really to create something unique, and the style I think, is the marriage between the concept of the Cartier boutique and to adapt it and connect it to Singapore, the city where we have the boutique. “

There are various elements of design featuring the concept of Singapore as the garden city.

The facade inspired by the tropical climate features Moinar’s signature use of strong clean lines, light and transparency designs. The pattern of palm trees and raindrops give a sense of privacy and exclusiveness.

The interior of the boutique features white wood, beige carpet and wall hangings on all floors. Mydriaz chandeliers handmade in Paris and of solid polished brass, hang at differing levels across all halls.

Left to right: Jerome Metzger, Christina Ang, managing director; Cartier Singapore & Malaysia and Rain.

On the first floor, you can find all the Cartier accessories from jewellery to watches and fashion, both for men and women. A Cartier panther can be seen in a tropical setting (reflecting Singapore’s flora and fauna) carved in basrelief on a plaster panel. This sculpted piece of work was custom-made and installed in the stairwell between the first and second floors.

The second floor is dedicated to high jewellery where you can see all the stunning and exquisite designs, and the workmanship and creativity the maison is known for.

The top floor is what actually sets this boutique apart from the other Cartier boutiques in Singapore and South-East Asia.

It’s designed like a luxurious apartment and has a dining area with a wine cellar and a cocktail bar. There is also a VIP room with a dressing space, where you can get ready for important functions.

What also gives it a uniquely Singaporean flavour is the Peranakan concept which can be found throughout all three floors, from the rich artefacts to the various displays.

“It’s a nice way to pay tribute to Singapore and welcome in a very bespoke manner our Singaporean clients, and on the other hand, to surprise and to share about Singapore to the tourists that are in the boutique.”

Metzger says the salon is something very unique as they can create different experiences based on the number of people they want to accommodate.

The exterior of the new Cartier flagship boutique has a pattern of palm trees and raindrops that give a sense of privacy and exclusiveness.

Tracing Its Heritage

To celebrate the opening, an exhibition titled “Cartier, Icon of Style” is open to the public till tomorrow Dec 6, 2018, where it showcases selected historical and extraordinary pieces from the Cartier collection.

The panther is synonymous with Cartier, and they were the first jeweller to adopt the beautiful animal. It was first seen on a wristwatch in 1914 with the setting of onyx recreating the animal’s fur. When Jeanne Toussaint became creative director for Cartier in 1933, the panther became even more prominent. She worked closely alongside Louis Cartier and was even nicknamed “La Panthère”.

For Toussaint and Cartier, the panther – which is now an iconic motif – is an emblem of femininity unfettered by convention.

Louis Cartier and Toussaint also had an interest in other cultures and this went on to shape the aesthetic of the maison, creating a style that would go on to expand into different forms and designs as seen from the unique pieces.

In order to understand this rich history from the panther to the evolution of decorative arts, this exhibition highlights not only the origins of the panther, but also their connections with some of the most fascinating women, among them the Duchess of Windsor and Barbara Hutton.

Maria Felix with her custom-made snake necklace.
The Duchess of Windsor (with the Duke of Windsor) in a beautiful necklace of dazzling coloured gems.

“It’s called Cartier, Icon of Style for two reasons, the icon of Cartier (panther), and on the other hand it’s also the icons of the maison – the muses, like the Duchess of Windsor, (actress) Maria Felix, some are icons of the society and some are muses of Cartier.

“I would say that each single creation is really exceptional. I should mention two – one is the panther brooch created in 1949 for the Duchess of Windsor. It’s one of the most famous Cartier creations with the beautiful Kashmir sapphire, it’s 152 carats and this brooch is the three-dimensional example of the panther, so it’s rare in the history of the maison.

“In the evolution of the style, we move from the first representation which was only the panther motifs with the spots black and white. And after that in the 1920s, you had the first real representation of the panther in one dimension. Hence with this brooch, it is really the beginning of the panther becoming alive in three-dimensional, which is now a main signature of the maison and the most iconic one.”

The second prominent creation he mentions is the snake necklace. This is an incredible piece of jewellery as it’s fully flexible, which means when you’re wearing it, it sits perfectly on the neck.

It was created for Mexican actress Maria Felix in 1968 and based on a collaboration between her and Cartier.

Cartier celebrated the opening with a cocktail event that saw personalities from South Korean singer and actor Rain, to Singaporean celebrities such as Zoe Tay, Fann Wong and Christopher Lee, all wearing Cartier High Jewellery collection and Icons.

To add on to the whole experience, Cartier also had a ferris wheel – complete with the famous red boxes – created which was displayed outside the boutique. Metzger says the objective was to celebrate the spirit of the maison in the festive season and to share it with everyone. There is also a photo booth open to the public and the ferris wheel will remain until the end of December.

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