All eyes on the Panthère de Cartier!
Opening on 26th October, Harrods in London are hosting an immersive experience about the iconic Cartier Panther. Visitors can see this incredible exhibit until the 27th November and explore the various rooms narrating the Cartier story.
Through a series of interconnecting rooms, Harrods hosts an enchanting and captivating gallery that not only showcases the historical context of the designer and brand, but it also the customers who bring Cartier to life. Taking you on a journey, the exhibition details the design of the Panthère which remains just as captivating today…
The animal’s piercing jewel eyes are handsome and hypnotic, just like the first onyx and diamond spots that appeared on a Cartier wristwatch in 1914. This was the first instance of the imaginative and daring feline design of Jeanne Toussiant who was Cartier’s director of jewelry from 1933-1970.
Toussaint was a well-known figure in Parisian society, she broke social norms of the time through her eccentric personal style. She was continuously pushing fashion boundraises by wearing pajamas and a full-length tiger-fur coat during the day - this is what earned her the nickname of ‘La Panthère’. Louis Cartier gave her this pet name as a celebration of her courageous and adventurous spirit.
Born in Belgium in 1887, Jeanne Toussiant’s family were lacemakers. She left home at the age of 13 and became a model in Paris where she entered society and became fast-friends with Coco Chanel, Cecil Beaton and Louis Cartier. Cartier and Toussaint became lovers and, in 1917, he gifted her a cigarette case bearing the first figurative representation of the Cartier Panthère. The cigarette case was made with platinum and onyx with the large cat pacing between two emerald trees. In the early 1920s, Cartier asked Toussaint to join the Maison as he was eager to utilise her eccentric style and exquisite taste. Initially, she oversaw the design and production of women’s handbags before moving onto become the head of the silver accessories. She was then further promoted to creative director of jewellery in 1933 where she moved Cartier away from the abstract, stylised panthers that had dominated their designs at the time. Instead she worked with the jewellers to create bold sculpted yellow gold cats with colourful stones and diamond spots. In 1948, Jeanne created a commissioned piece for the Duchess of Windsor: a 3-D panther atop an 116 carat emerald brooch.
This piece heralded a new era for Cartier. Powerful, passionate and enigmatic, the panther has been worn by some of the world’s greatest tastemakers. Jeanne Toussaint’s timing was impeccable with this design, Cartier was ahead of the Early 20th Century craze for African and Asian Cultures as the world started to open up to forgein travel. Panthers already had a strong presence in Western culture through art and design, with strong ties to royalty and power. With the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922, the Western world was fascinated with Egypt and Cartier kept this allure alive through a range of necklaces, bracelets, brooches and timepieces.
At PRETAVOIR, we are proud to stock the Panthère Pilot Frame: the timeless pilot shape features the emblematic Panthère de Cartier on either side of the frame. The very elegant and sophisticated design utilises three-dimensions metal panther head sculptures with jewelry finishes: black lacquer for eyes and nose to recall onyx. Precious finishes and the Cartier brand name engraved into the temple adorning the décor come together to make a truly luxurious sunglass frame.
The Panthère design is just as mesmerising today as it was in 1914. On the CT0030S Cat Eye, the black acetate frame is strengthened by a solid gold panther with glistening dark onyx eyes followed by the engraved Cartier brand name. The three-dimensional sculpture elevates the sunglass frame to an exquisite jewellery piece unlike any other frame.
The Panthère de Cartier is not just reserved for sunglasses, the proud panther can also be seen on a range of optical frames. For example, the CT0206O frame is a narrow rectangular design that features the emblematic cat. The elegant and sophisticated design is created with a bilayer front acetate and a combination of tone-on-tone. Perfected through a modern touch of the metal core, the three-dimensional metal panther head is finished with black lacquer for eyes and nose to recall onyx.
We hope you get to visit the Panthère de Cartier exhibition but if not, our team is at hand if you require any further information about the Panthère, or the Cartier brand.
You can get in touch with our team on live chat, email [email@example.com] and phone [0141 552 5065].
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