In my new book (written with Gilles Auguste) "Luxury Talent Management - Leading and Managing a Luxury Brand" (published in April 2013 by Palgrave Macmillan), we analyze Cartier's "Odyssey" campaign - showing how the brand found inspiration in its history, its visual codes and its iconic products - thus offering us a truly modern vision. You will find here this analysis as an "avant-première" or should we say an appetizer!
“An evening of mystery, at 13 rue de la Paix … in the heart of Paris, where the Cartier myth was born. The beginnning of a wonderful adventure, a tale of creativity spanning 165 years of history, from the garland style to Art Deco, from the Cartier animal kingdom to tutti frutti jewels, from platforms to mysterious clocks that seem to make time stand still. …”
Cartier aired in the early months of 2012 a movie “Cartier Odyssey”, marking the brand’s 165th anniversary. It is a magnificent storytelling of the brand – which we will decode for laymen.
“This film is built is built on the history of Cartier. It illustrates several fundamental elements of Cartier philosophy, creative vision and more particularly Cartier vision style” said Pierre Rainero Cartier’s Image Style and Heritage Director.
Why the Panther?
The muse behind the Cartier Odyssey is of course the panther, the emblematic figure of the Maison since the 1930s. Jeanne Toussaint was then Artistic Director and “la Panthère” was her nickname. “She embodied a type of feminine elegance which was very assertive and independent. She was also a true original. In 1948 she was to become the creator of the first figurative panther in Jewelry, a brooch. A panther completed with a very beautiful emerald which would be sold to the Duchess of Windsor”
Why Russia? (chapter 2)
Cartier is the Maison that has served the kings and the queens of this world. Cartier obtained no fewer than 15 different royal warrants in the first 30 years of the 20th century. This effectively made Cartier the most well-known luxury jeweler among the royal courts of the world.
In the film the panther captivates the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna in her sleigh in Saint Petersburg: At the very beginning of 20th century Pierre Cartier was embraced by Russian aristocracy. “Cartier was the Jeweler of Kings and the King of Jewelers” as the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VII) pronounced.
Why the Dragon? (chapter 4)
“This dragon has a very Cartier look : yellow gold, encrusted with onyx and emerald eyes. These two animals sized each other up as if two influences, two cultures were coming face to face. That the panther should find itself in China alongside the dragon of the Great Wall is no fantasy. It is a symbol of the Maison ‘s unversalism”… and of one of its major current market, China.
Why the Elephant? (chapter 5)
The Panther then crept into a Mughal-inspired palace in India, a fantastical incarnation of the “Tutti Frutti” style. This famous blend of blue and green that Cartier introduced to the jewelry world is influenced by Islamic faience. Yet in the western culture this type of color mix was considered bad taste. When Cartier launched this color blend, it became fashionable and was named the “Cartier Style”.
India reminds us also that Indian Maharajas were among the most important Cartier clients in the 19th and 20th century.
Why the plane? (chapter 6)
The panther then jumps on a plane, manned by the famous Santos Dumont. In order to to have greater control while flying his aircraft, the aviator Alberto Santos Dumont ordered one of the first wristwatches from Cartier in 1904. This watch is still one of the brand’s bestsellers.
Why the rings? (chapter 2)
Two classic timeless pieces are in the film: the LOVE bracelet which has captivated us since 1970 and the three-band TRINITY ring that was created in 1924. Both have acquired legendary status and are also bestsellers.
“Cartier Jeweler since 1847”