Last week in New York, I had the opportunity to visit the Cartier Mansion on Fifth Avenue and tour their private rooms, an experience I won’t soon forget. Originally built in 1905, the landmark building is one of New York’s last remaining gilded-age mansions. It was once home to Morton Plant, who traded the building to Pierre Cartier in 1917 for a rare double-strand natural pearl necklace that caught the eye of his wife Maisie, worth 1 million dollars at the time.
The Pierre Cartier Salon.
Today, the building is home to Cartier’s American flagship store, known around the world for it’s glamorous oak-paneled salons which blend the grandeur of the gilded-age with modern sophistication. Many of the rooms are named after the Maison’s most renowned clients, like Princess Grace of Monaco, Elizabeth Taylor, and Gary Cooper, where archival illustrations hang alongside relics of the past, including drawings by Jean Cocteau, a self-portrait polaroid by Andy Warhol, and the royal warrant of Queen Alexandra of England. These rooms which reflect the Maison’s rich heritage showcase Cartier’s finest watches, home objects and haute joaillerie.
Exquisite oak paneled walls.
The Princess Grace Salon.
Drawings by Jean Cocteau.
One of the mansion's modern features is the interactive scent room, a multi-sensory experience created by Cartier's official perfumer, Mathilde Laurent that allows clients to immerse themselves in house fragrances. The adjacent room which houses fine leather goods, home decor and one-of-a-kind horlogerie is designed to making you feel as if you've stepped inside one of Cartier's signature red boxes.
A peek at the scent room.
The highlight of our visit was when we were lead through a secret door to the private Jeanne Toussaint Salon, upstairs on the private mezzanine. The salon, exquisitely decorated with Louis XV furniture, pays homage to Louis Cartier's legendary muse who went on to become Artistic Director of Jewelry, creating some of Cartier’s most iconic pieces, such as the Duchess of Windsor’s flamingo brooch, and Barbara Hutton's bejeweled cats. It was surreal to see her original sketches with her handwritten notes up close in all their detail.
The Jeanne Toussaint Salon.
Jeanne Toussaint's original sketches.
Before heading out, we returned to the Panthere salon for a glass of champagne, the perfect way to top off our visit.
The Panthere Salon.