Wallis Simpson’s Cartier Legacy Lives On
Cartier’s new advert is an audio-visual onslaught of pure style. Starting with a dark, cold and empty street, the camera zooms into the shop window and focuses on a small panther crafted entirely from diamonds and sapphires. With a roar, the panther inside bursts out in a meteor shower of diamonds and breaks free. After touring the world and meeting national animals, the panther saunters through the city before slinking up a cascading staircase to find his new owner, a svelte and chic lady who wears a Cartier panther bracelet on her wrist.
The panther, majestic in his powerful stature and with ferocious sapphire eyes piercing the twinkling of his diamond body, is a design that Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of Windsor, would be proud of. Wallis Simpson designed much of her own jewellery at Cartier, and big cats were an omnipresent sight in her collection. After her retirement into exile with the Duke of Windsor, one of her favourite pieces was a large round sapphire which she had set with a magnificent panther, made from diamonds and sapphires, set on top as if he were surveying the whole globe as his kingdom.
One of Wallis Simpson’s other feline designs was the stunning panther bracelet, fully articulated and hugging the wrist in an explosion of diamonds. It seems as if this design has been the inspiration for the jewellery in Cartier’s new advert, which would not be surprising given that the legendary piece is more popular than ever. Wallis Simpson’s original panther bracelet sold at Sotheby’s in 2010 for a record-breaking £4.5 million.