DOUBLING UP: Cartier is putting its money on Harrods, where it has doubled the size of its space and now boasts the biggest boutique on the fine jewelry floor.
The jeweler tapped the architect Laura Gonzalez to design a new shop concept that made its debut this week at Harrods’ Fine Jewelry Rooms. The shop-in-shop spans 5,200 square feet, an area that was previously occupied by six boutiques.
Classic wooden pillars link the different rooms while display cases are finished in bronze and walls feature handcrafted glass and textured, metallic paint. There are marble details and velvet sofas, while a pair of modernist geometric chandeliers light up the rooms. Cartier said the aim was to create a welcoming, open space that will draw passersby into the boutique.
In addition to the main salons, which include separate areas for the prestige, diamond, men’s and women’s collections, there is a corridor that displays the brand’s leather and exotics accessories and links the boutique to Harrods. There are also areas with sliding doors that can be transformed into private VIP spaces.
Cartier, like other brands, has been rethinking the retail experience of late. Going forward, it will be looking to add more contemporary flair to its shop interiors and come up with different designs for its stores around the world to enable them to be more representative of the local aesthetic.
Helen David, chief merchant at Harrods, said the time was right for a bigger Cartier store as the brand is attracting “huge demand” at the retailer.
Among the exclusive pieces that have been created are jade cuff links, a tribute to Harrods’ famous green shopping bags; a mechanical movement pocket watch, and a series of limited-edition clutches in alligator, calf and goat skin with the signature Cartier Panthère clasp.
According to the store, two out of the five alligator clutches produced were sold within hours of the Cartier opening. They retail at 10,000 pounds.
Laurent Feniou, Cartier’s managing director in the U.K., said Harrods and the French jeweler have much in common: Both were established in the mid-19th century and are known for their dedication to “beauty, a duty of excellence and the freedom to be oneself.”
Cartier has also been exploring new retail frontiers, making its first foray into online via a partnership with Net-a-porter on an exclusive pop-up that launched the brand’s new Panthère watch. The pop-up saw extremely high sell-throughs, according to the e-tailer, which sold the first watch via WhatsApp within two minutes of the launch.