SPEED DEMONS: Johann Rupert might not have been in London to attend Cartier’s annual Racing Awards but he was certainly there in spirit.
The black-tie event at the Dorchester hotel was steeped in tradition with old and new generations of horse racing aficionados gathering to celebrate the horses of the year. Guests included Patrick Grant, Jeremy Hackett, model Eliza Cummings, illustrator Sabrina Percy and Lord Eddy Downpatrick, who has recently debuted a new men’s brand, Fidir, which offers clothing and accessories inspired by the Scottish Highlands.
Rupert, the South African chairman of Richemont, which owns Cartier, was the subject of some serious ribbing from Cartier’s racing consultant Harry Herbert, who was onstage with Laurent Feniou, Cartier’s managing director in the U.K., handing out awards to the horses’ proud owners.
“One man who doesn’t come very often to the awards is the great boss himself, Johann Rupert,” said Herbert, an Englishman who said he’d had the good fortune of taking part in a clay pigeon shoot with Alfred Dunhill, another brand in Richemont’s portfolio.
He said that Rupert later challenged him to a future cricket match — England vs. South Africa — and the two spent a year trying to gather the best players from the U.K. and South Africa for their teams. I told him: “By the way, the Queen is coming, Prince Philip is coming, the Prime Minister is coming. I assume you’ve sorted Mandela.”
Qatar Racing Limited’s Roaring Lion received the Cartier Horse of the Year Award, while the composer Andrew Lloyd Weber received the award for best two-year old colt, Too Darn Hot. “Nobody talks to me about (my) shows anymore. They only want to know about Too Darn Hot. But that name did come from a musical — ‘Kiss Me, Kate,’” said Weber.
Cartier has also been stepping up its retail activity, having recently extended its partnership with Net-a-porter and Mr Porter. It is readying the reopening later this year of its Bond Street boutique, which will showcase a new design and a clutch of new products including the brand’s new Guirland leather bag which has proven very popular with the influencer set on Instagram.
“These awards epitomize every thing we like at Cartier. It’s about style, it’s about beauty and of course, about the constant and relentless search for excellence,” said Feniou.