PARIS — For its newest women’s fragrance, Cartier gleaned inspiration from the panther — the jewelry house’s iconic symbol that’s also the stuff of legend.
This story first appeared in the February 14, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
It was written by the likes of Greek philosopher Theophrastus that the panther is the only animal with a naturally pleasant scent, which seduces its prey.
The memory of Jeanne Toussaint (the spirited Cartier fine jewelry director from the Thirties, whose stage name was “La Panthère”), also contributed to the fragrance’s conception.
Cartier’s in-house perfumer Mathilde Laurent, who worked on the project, explained she wanted a scent that was “divine,” not animalistic. “An animal that smells like flowers is fantastic for other animals,” she said. “So that’s how we came to this idea of a floral and feral accord.”
La Panthère’s juice has gardenia, chypre and musk notes.
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Created using a new technique, the fragrance’s glass bottle contains a geometric, faceted rendition of the cat’s head that was carved from the inside and contains the scent.
“It’s a bit like the mysterious pendulums at Cartier,” said Léa Vignal-Kenedi, managing director fragrance at the house, referring to its clocks whose hands appeared to float. “We don’t really explain how it’s made.”
She added that in trying to express the spirit of a panther, it wasn’t the form of its body but its head that needed to be encapsulated in the bottle.
Erin Wasson (chosen for her intense, magnetic look, said Vignal-Kenedi) fronts the campaign for La Panthère. It is to include single- and double-page advertising photographed by Peter Lindbergh, and 15- and 30-second spots filmed by Sean Ellis.
The scent will launch starting next Thursday exclusively in Cartier boutiques, with the wider worldwide rollout due to begin on March 15.
In France, the 30-, 50- and 75-ml. eau de parfum sprays will retail for 59, 84 and 105.50 euros, or $81, $115 and $144 at current exchange, respectively.
Cartier executives would not discuss sales projections, but according to industry sources La Panthère should generate 60 million euros, or $82 million, in first-year wholesale revenues worldwide.
Cartier launched another Panthère fragrance in the Eighties, but it no longer remains on the market.