On Sept 16 and 17, jeweller and watchmaker Cartier hosted a grand exhibition at Pavilion KL to fete the great cat that is part of its heritage — the panther. Through a magnificent array of bejewelled exhibits at both the popular mall’s centre court and the maison’s flagship boutique, La Panthère de Cartier paid tribute to this feminine feline, providing historical context as well as contemporary interpretations.
Cartier’s obsession with the panther began with one woman — Jeanne Toussaint. As the story goes, Toussaint, a Parisian style icon — whose nickname was, in fact, La Panthère — became acquainted with Louis Cartier, and a successful collaboration soon developed. Shortly after, the glorious wildcat began to shape the future development of Cartier. With its feminine temperament and avant-garde allure, the panther went on to adorn both Cartier’s watches and jewellery.
Some of these pieces were included in the KL exhibition, which showcased more than 150 years of history and craftsmanship. From accessories commissioned by Toussaint herself, to a brooch commissioned by the Duchess of Windsor, each part of the exhibition was a carefully curated journey through the annals of the maison’s history. The historic pieces were complemented by a sumptuous range of contemporary pieces, including the new Panthère de Cartier collection launched at this year’s Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie.
The exhibition provided viewers with the opportunity to trace the odyssey of the powerful creature that leads the famous Cartier menagerie and its rise to become the universal symbol of power, sleekness and independence. Indeed, if there were any criticism of the exhibition, it was that it was much too short.
“We would have all loved to have the exhibition for longer, but we were nevertheless still glad to be able to showcase them in Malaysia,” says Jerome Metzger, Cartier’s recently appointed regional managing director. “The idea of the exhibition was to give our guests and clients a picture of the history of Cartier. It is impossible to share the full story of the panther, but we can at least showcase a part of it.
“We have a wonderful new flagship boutique here and it was a wonderful occasion to celebrate both this and what we consider the queen of the Cartier menagerie, the panther. It was a privilege to host such an exhibition, especially for customers in Malaysia who are especially close to us.”