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Daring. Feminine. Strong.

Those were the qualities Mercedes Abramo, president and chief executive officer of Cartier North America, ticked off to describe La Panthere de Cartier, the brand’s iconic panther insignia. The party, thrown on Wednesday night to celebrate the emblem’s centennial, delivered on all three.

This story first appeared in the November 14, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

There was DJ Karen O filling the daring quota twice over with her plunging neckline and resolve to play old-school Eighties hits in lieu of the typical Beyoncé-laden playlist. For feminine, see Hannah Bronfman, exuding girlish allure in a flirty powder blue frock. “Oh, I love that,” she cooed, examining the cases housing the new collection, beau Brendan Fallis on her arm. A pearl-and-diamond sliding watch seemed to catch her eye (the holidays are coming, Mr. Fallis). As for the strong quotient, look no further than Brooke Shields. Yes, the eyebrow game is still strong, but so, too, is the actress’s social game. She flitted from Cartier executive to Cartier executive, making a pit stop at the bar along the way (the cocktails themselves, while Instagram-ready, were, sadly, not very strong). “Cartier expresses classic beauty, and if I can be associated with that in any way…” she trailed off.

For the anniversary bash, Cartier transformed Skylight Clarkson SQ, a relatively raw space, into a one-night-only museum dedicated to the brand. (A true, full-scale exhibition opens at the Denver Art Museum on Sunday). “The panther is such an important icon of Cartier, and we needed to do something to showcase that,” Abramo said of the trappings. “The icon is so strong that this really needed to have a strong push.” Guests filling the venue included Yigal Azrouël, Jen Brill, Audrey Gelman, Mia Moretti, Cleo Wade, Chiara Ferragni, Indre Rockefeller, Wes Gordon, Erin Wasson, Waris Ahluwalia and Athena Calderone.

“I always am in love with the panther. I own one panther ring, but I’m not wearing it tonight,” said Chloë Sevigny, surveying the sparkly things on display. Any favorites? “The perfume bottle,” she said, referring to an antique and rather opulent objet d’art. “There are only five of them, and they are $200,000. I don’t think I’m going to invest in that this year. But one day maybe…”

Around 10 p.m., a wave of flashbulbs and a chorus of photographer yips erupted toward the party’s entrance. Abramo had forgotten one key characteristic of the panther: mystery. Enter Rooney Mara, the event’s unofficial guest of honor. The ever-elusive actress maintained a panther-like air (read: refusing to talk to press). Working her go-to look (LBD, slick hair, dark lips), Mara floated into the party. “Can I have this?” she purred, spotting a lone Champagne flute sitting at a nearby bar. Alas, the glass was for an awaiting guest, though the bartender, who looked like a male model, was more than happy to pour a new glass for the actress. Fresh bubbly in hand, Mara sauntered off to a secluded booth in the space’s farthest corner where she stayed for the entirety of the night, almost completely camouflaged by the dark shadows — a true panther.

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