When you think of Cartier, you think invariably of a house that King Edward VII dubbed “jeweller of kings and king of jewellers”. It might surprise you to know then that the august maison actually has a treasure trove of lifestyle objects and accoutrements in its archives.
It was, after all, Jacques Cartier – grandson of brand founder Louis-Francois Cartier – who said “we are equally qualified to embellish a woman’s neckline with a dazzling necklace as we are to fill her bag with a compact, a
mirror, a small comb and even visiting cards”.
These accompanying objects were, of course, informed by the bold and pioneering design spirit that Jacques Cartier suffused the house with when he led its London operations from 1909 to 1941.
One such object that’s getting a reboot is the vanity case, or what the house calls necessaires (French for “required”). In the early 20th century, these little cases were highly desirable objects of both beauty and utility.
Conceived as a stylish way of carrying around lipstick, powder and even cigarettes in the roaring ’20s for a generation of women newly liberated and free to go out on their own, they’re as good as precursors to the dinky micro-bags of today, so to speak.
This month, Cartier is taking direct inspiration from that history and reviving the grand tradition of these as a collection of perfume cases that it calls Les Necessaires a Parfum.
True to the brand’s dedication to craft, the house has even brought back the use of hand-applied lacquer and enamel, influenced by the Art Deco, Oriental and Islamic designs that it created in the ’20s and ’30s.
Nine of the brand’s signature fragrances (Declaration, L’Heure Mysterieuse and Baiser Vole among them, though the brand intends to expand its library of scents with time) have had their glass bottles updated to fit into these slender metal holders.
Simply slide one into a Necessaires a Parfum case and it’ll be secured magnetically, ready for slipping into a bag to bring on the go – or to proudly display on a shelf.