By  on October 19, 2007

DALLAS — Cartier has moved to a larger space in a new neighborhood and expectations are high.

The luxury jeweler opened a 2,500-square-foot store this month at NorthPark Center here that is double the size and inventory of its previous location at Galleria Dallas.

"We have 34 stores in North America, and we believe the Dallas store should be in the top 10 in two years' time," said Frédéric de Narp, president and chief executive officer of Cartier North America.

"Dallas customers have been extremely supportive of Cartier, and that's why we want to give them a new red box with much more products,'' he said. "Now they can pick up here whatever they see in a Cartier store in Paris."

The inventory of diamonds weighing more than two carats has been expanded, and all the company's watch styles are represented, including the best-selling Ballon Bleu, Cartier's first watch with a round bezel and a sapphire-capped stem. Small leather goods are showcased at the rear, highlighted by the top-selling Marcello bag in leopard-print furry goatskin and other skins and leathers.

The unit's decor of blond oak, black marble and textured bronze is punctuated by huge color photos of panthers, the Cartier icon, by fashion and art photographer Keiichi Tahara and dramatic illustrations of jewelry. Dallas is Cartier's 18th North American unit to feature the contemporary design by Paris architect Bruno Moinard.

Within the store's footprint, glass and bronze cases are widely spaced and can be approached from 360 degrees. "We had several clients...visit us on opening day, and they were so happy," said general manager Nicole Dabbert. "They were impressed with the artwork and the atmosphere."

Cartier's North American business has been "extremely good," de Narp said. The Marcello bag reached its one-year sales goal in two months, he noted, and can be ordered in myriad custom-made styles. Cartier also has had record unit sales of bridal rings.

"I believe it's because the brand is a long-term visionary brand, never compromising on design and quality," de Narp said.

Cartier served its own cuvée of Champagne when it celebrated the new store with a panther-themed party Tuesday night. The company is showcasing a $100 million trove of high-end jewelry and vintage pieces brought in for the event, including brooches of animals and birds. A white gold, diamond and lacquer bracelet from 1938 is a highlight, along with a Love cuff paved in 2,649 diamonds. The guest list focused on supporters of the Dallas Opera, which marks its 50th anniversary this year. Cartier is a major sponsor of the opera's annual charity ball next month."We are bringing the whole power and energy of the brand to Dallas,'' de Narp said.

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