Panthère de Cartier: A Timeless Symbol of Strength and Style
September 14, 2022
Reading Time: 5 minutes
If you know Cartier, you know the Panthère – one of the Maison’s most iconic animals. With its wild and magnetic feline energy, the panther has been a creative signature for the luxury brand since its debut as a spotted motif on a women’s watch in 1914, inaugurating the use of flecking in jewelry.
That same year, founder Louis Cartier ordered a “Lady with Panther” from French illustrator and painter George Barbier. The watercolor was then used by the Maison for its advertising. A panther woman was taking shape – she stood out, claimed her independence and freedom, and marked her existence with a wild and beautiful femininity.
For Cartier, the first panther woman was free-spirited, 20th century style icon Jeanne Toussaint, Louis Cartier’s close collaborator and muse who was nicknamed “La Panthère.” Toussaint was responsible for the panther’s first transformation in 1948, when she dared to flesh out the creature into three dimensions, revealing its jeweled coat through an impression of spotted motifs before giving it body and life. Touissant created a bold new aesthetic that became the signature for brilliant, independent women who saw themselves reflected in the powerful panther, including the Duchess of Windsor, fashion icon Daisy Fellowes, Princess Nina Aga Khan, and legendary Latin American film actress María Félix, among others. These femmes fatales and major Cartier clients were constantly in the spotlight, with their jewelry reflecting their dazzling presence. The magic of the Cartier panther was sparked by this magnetic seduction, which Cartier crystalized in sensual form.
Undergoing multiple transformations throughout the following (nearly eight) decades, the panther has not only stood the test of time – she’s thrived because of it. As women continue to harness their inner power, many might say the panthère serves as a fitting symbol of strength and style that has only grown more impactful with time.
Design, gem mounting, and paving all contribute to the panther’s realistic charm, down to the very last detail: the panther’s silky coat, which Cartier creates using its own “fur” setting technique. The idea is not to imitate, but pay homage to nature, breathe life into the animal and provide it with a personality.
Today, the striking feline exercises its power and magnetism on the Panthère de Cartier collection, which encompasses jewelry, watches, perfumes, accessories, and new handbags. Among today’s noteworthy international fans of the Panthère de Cartier are English actresses Ella Balinska and Anabelle Wallis, Chinese actor Chang Chen, Italian top model Mariacarla Boscono, and American actress Lily Collins, who represents the handbag collection.
Each Panthère de Cartier handbag is a three-dimensional definition of a style statement, both nomadic and urban. Combining leather with the Maison’s emblematic animal, the Panthère de Cartier bag unites leather goods and jewelry making savoir-faire and plays on the opposition of contrasting elements around the panther.
The sensuality and curvature give the bag its generous volume and recall the flexibility of a panther in motion. No sharp edges, no visible seams: everything is seen in terms of fluidity, curves and softness.
The bag’s wild clasp says it all, with a radical panther head design. A Cartier signature recognizable at first glance, this panther head was created in collaboration with a High Jewelry sculptor. It is an exceptionally designed architectural piece adorned on its flat surfaces with eleven leather inserts, creating depth and perspective. A tab on the inside depicts a stylized panther’s head. Pulling the flap down, the clasp opens to reveal the interior, with its signature mirror pocket.
The chain links are faceted like a precious stone, with every detail carefully considered, right down to the sound of the links clinking together. The chain link strap is versatile, allowing for two functions: a cross-body carry and a shoulder carry with two lengths. Finished in gold or palladium, it is equipped with a leather shoulder strap, the thickness of which is reminiscent
of the sensual curves of the bag.
The leather of the Panthère de Cartier bag is grained and made from the finest skins chosen by its designer, Marlin Yuson. Available in small or mini versions, the color palette is bright and rich, available in black, navy blue, red, pale yellow, creamy white, beige and petrol blue.
Almost a century later, the panther is present in the most unexpected places, strongly representing a style that defies boundaries.
Shop the Panthère de Cartier collection on the Lower Level. For more information, call 305-521-1800.
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