It took Cartier nearly two years and a crew of 60 trained specialists to complete the brand’s first-ever short film, so it was a no-brainer that the legendary French jewelry house would go all out to celebrate the premiere of L’Odyssée de Cartier.
Now before we even go into discussing the cinema piece that celebrates the brand’s 165-year storied history, we just have to paint a picture of the pure fanciness of last night’s soirée at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Being New Yorkers, we take the subway, which meant a ten-minute trudge in the rain to reach the majestic city landmark. As we were approaching, we make out silhouettes of uniformed off-the-clock male model staffers lined up along the Met’s steps waiting to escort fancypants guests from their taxis or car service (as opposed to the 6 train) under the protection of large and stately golf umbrellas. Let’s just say, it was pretty awkward slinking up the grand steps of the Met unescorted and toting our own ratty fold-up umbrellas. After we sorted our flustered selves out and checked our coat with possibly the most handsome coat check guy ever seen, we walked about a mile past more dishy staffers and countless exhibits to reach the cocktail portion of the evening, which was going down in the absolutely magnificent Temple of Dendur. A string mini-orchestra was playing posh mood music as guests were socializing and quaffing champers - Cartier-label, clearly. Just as we were finally settling in, all the nice men offering trays of beverages suddenly disappeared, which signaled that the movie portion of the evening was about to commence. Guests were ushered into a private auditorium that we never knew existed at the Met and the movie, sorry, we mean film, began. L’Odyssée de Cartier is seen through the eyes of the iconic Cartier panther (well, actually three felines, Cali, Tiga and Damou, played the role, kind of like how twins tag team to play one kid on TV) with settings in glamorous - and historically important to Cartier - locations: Paris, St. Petersburg, Beijing and an opulent Indian palace occupied by a certain supermodel who just walked in the Alexander Wang show, (ahem, Shalom Harlow for those who don't know). The artwork and cinematography are dramatically stunning with mindblowing visual metaphors galore: the panther running through hoops of Trinity rings, wheels of a horse drawn carriage turning into gigantic rolling Love bangles and the interior of a Maharajah’s palace coming alive as dazzling pieces from the India-inspired Tutti Frutti collection. You’ve heard of shoe porn, right? Well, this is straight-up jewelry porn. The film concludes with a cameo appearance from an eternally gorgeous Shalom Harlow, wearing a slinky custom red bustier gown designed by a young Ecole Nationale des Arts Decoratifs graduate, Yiqing Yin. “We needed a very strong personality to play the part with the panther - who has a very strong personality - and represents the house and we thought Shalom Harlow represented the glamor the way Cartier wanted to express it,” North America president and CEO Emmanuel Perrin told us during cocktail hour. “She looks lovely in red with our jewelry on and it seems the panther agreed with her.” Sure enough, the supermodel is dripping in precious stones and metals, including a 13.4-carat pear-cut solitaire diamond ring and a one-of-a-kind platinum Panther bracelet that boasts onyx for the spots and nose, emeralds for eyes, a smattering of brilliant-cut diamonds and one mother of a 51.58 carat green beryl. If you were thinking of adding that last piece to your birthday wish list, sorry, you’re out of luck. During the Q&A after the movie, Perrin announced that a U.S. buyer already snatched the piece up - and before the film is even released. How rude! But you can still view the fuzzy panthers, Shalom Harlow and all the jewelry porn you can stomach when L’Odyssée de Cartier makes its nationwide debut on TV, in movie theaters and on Cartier’s dedicated site on March 4. (You can catch a sneak peek on Cartier’s Facebook page on March 2, too.) If you were wondering who was the biggest diva on the set - the panthers or Harlow - apparently there were no cat fights (sorry, couldn’t help it) to be seen. “It was a big happy family on the crew set,” said Perrin. “And over two years, it [being a diva] can happen, but no, she’s a very nice lady, absolutely. In terms of personality and what we try to emulate at Cartier.”