For precisely 3.5 minutes, I stood captivated, frozen in place, in hot rollers and underwear by what I was viewing on TV. I scrambled to figure out if what I was viewing was a The Today Show segment, an official commercial or if one of my cats had tried to eat the remote again and inadvertently changed the channel to the SyFy Network.
I was viewing stunning, out-of-this world cinematography — breathtaking landscapes, magical creatures, a gorgeous [non-CGI!] panther and, exquisite, exquisite jewelry — CARTIER jewelry, in fact — I’d know those pieces anywhere.
After a full, audible gasp at the realization I was watching art, storytelling, and cinema — marketing at its’ purest — and that my hair was going to burn off if I didn’t get the hot rollers out, I finished getting dressed and rushed to scour the internet to find the who, what, when, where and how for this Cartier masterpiece.
Rumored to have cost some $4 million Euros [$5.2 million USD], Cartier produced L’Odyssée de Cartier to commemorate their 165th anniversary. Filming on location and on elaborate sets in Prague, Italy, France and Spain, to name a few, three panthers and handfuls of handlers, and a symphony recording at Abbey Road — the details of L’Odyssée kept getting more delicious the deeper I dug.
Directed by Bruno Aveillan with music composed by Pierre Adenot, this duo set out to create a “subtle metaphor of Cartier’s elegance, free-spirit and independence” [as stated in L’Odyssée de Cartier’s Extras] through Cartier’s iconic symbol, the panther.
Jeanne Toussaint, Cartier’s first female director of design and nicknamed “The Panther,” re-envisioned Cartier’s traditional art deco aesthetic into the exotic — the Panthere de Cartier Collection. During the 1930s, the diamond-and-onyx encrusted panther symbolized freedom and boldness with exotic undertones at a time when women were still expected to wear “polite” pearls and concede their right to vote in many parts of the world.
L’Odyssée de Cartier’s musical score drips with the sensuality of Toussaint’s panther — exotic, feminine, sexy — while each object in each scene has brilliant and intentional meaning.
From Cartier’s first store in Paris, to Toussaint’s legendary diamond-and-onyx panther, to Trinity rings, to the wedding-ring-every-girl-dreams-of, to the rolling Love bracelets on the mountain top, to Alberto Santos Dumont’s airplane [the namesake of the timeless Santos men’s timepiece] to Shalom Harlow wearing Chinese designer Yiqing Yinwith’s striking gown in Cartier red, to finishing…*second audible gasp*…finishing with the pièce de résistance…the 784-diamond, 91-onyx, emerald-eyed panther that houses the 51.58-carat divine green beryl gemstone.
Final audible gasp. I’ve died and gone to marketing heaven. L’Odyssée de Cartier, Je t’aime!