CARTIER, VUITTON AND TIFFANY PARTY IN PARIS
Byline: Katherine Weisman
PARIS — It’s been party time for luxury goods retailers here.
Cartier celebrated the 100th anniversary of its store here at 13 Rue de la Paix on Nov. 30 by showcasing 13 new high-jewelry pieces. The over-the-top jewels included a multi-hued, natural pearl necklace accented by a 138-carat round blue diamond; a rare 12-carat, pink, pear-shaped diamond pendant, and a platinum serpent bracelet covered in 71 carats of diamond.
The store — supposedly the first Parisian jeweler to have electricity and telephone service — was often frequented by royalty, including King Edward VII and the Queen of Spain, who did their buying in Louis Cartier’s private back offices.
Richard Lepeu, president of Cartier International, and Stanislas de Quercize, managing director of Cartier France, welcomed guests including French actor and director Jean-Claude Brialy, Emmanuelle Beart and her father Guy, who is a poet and singer, and Anouck Aimee.
The next evening, Louis Vuitton celebrated the reopening of its Avenue Montaigne store as an accessories-only address.
“We don’t just want to have a few items on hangers for our ready-to-wear,” said Vuitton president Yves Carcelle. “So when a store isn’t big enough, we’ll highlight our handbags, footwear and other accessories.”
The 3,800-square-foot store was designed by Peter Marino. The center of the space is devoted to shoes, which are placed, like small sculptures, on low tables and cubes. The walls are lined with lighted shelves displaying leather goods and luggage.
For those concerned about having electricity after Y2K, the Day Meets Night agenda could solve their problems. Besides its glow-in-the-dark, phosphorescent paper with a 24-hour schedule, the hot pink agenda in Vuitton’s grained Epi leather has an unusual feature reminiscent of those Sixties blacklights: though invisible by day, at night the Vuitton monogram, sprinkled over the agenda, glows in the dark.
Then it was on to Tiffany. The American jeweler christened its flagship at 6 Rue de la Paix, with a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” the morning of Dec. 2. Tiffany president and chief executive Michael Kowalski presided over a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was handled by Elizabeth Rohatyn, whose husband, Felix, is the U.S. ambassador to France.
The following night, Tiffany’s held a cocktail reception, complete with miniature hot dogs and hamburgers. Tiffany chairman William Chaney welcomed Paloma Picasso, who designs an exclusive collection for Tiffany’s; her husband Eric Thevenet, and a host of well known Parisians to the multilevel store.