CARTIER’S VIEW OF ‘CREATION’
Byline: Wendy Hessen
NEW YORK — Micheline Kanoui seldom varies her travels beyond the weekly commute between her offices in Paris and her home in Geneva, but as Cartier’s director of jewelry design, she took a different journey last week.
During a four-day whirlwind trip to launch Creation, the company’s first major collection since 1991, Kanoui jetted between Paris, New York and Los Angeles. Cartier hosted parties at its boutiques in both U.S. cities celebrating the launch.
Through a translator and in very animated French, the designer, in an interview at the Fifth Avenue store, described the collection’s theme as “a celebration of the diverse elements of the universe — the terrestrial, the cosmos and the creative merger of the two.”
The 100-piece Creation line uses pearls and diamond-covered pairs of swimming dolphins or architecturally inspired, patterned gold to illustrate the earth; seamless and reversible yellow-to-white gold pieces symbolizing the cosmic play between day and night, and interlaced links and Cartier “C”s to signify the web of life and the world’s constant process of renewal.
While the theme of the line — most of which retails from $1,100 for a 18-karat yellow gold Neptune ring to roughly $70,000 for a platinum and diamond dolphin watch — may seem a bit esoteric to some, Kanoui insisted that it also be versatile and comfortable.
She began her career with the jewelry firm in 1974 as a manager in Cartier’s Geneva boutique and still holds the title of general director there. Part of the reason she chose to commute between Paris and Geneva is to stay in touch with her clients and include their requests in creating new pieces.
‘I get inspired by my customers,” Kanoui said. “It’s key to remain in contact with my roots in the store and design with my customers in mind. I’m thankful to be a designer who doesn’t live in a design vacuum, but understands what the real jewelry business is about — service and satisfying my clients’ needs and desires.”
Kanoui has been director of jewelry design since 1981, responsible for such well-known collections such as Panther, Egyptian and Spirit of India. This latest effort not only marks Cartier’s 150th anniversary, but a move away from the retailer’s somewhat traditional pieces representing cultural landmarks, toward shaking things up a bit and “making a fresh leap to a new world,” she said.