It took two years and countless press releases, but it’s finally here: On September 7, Cartier flagship store in New York at 653, Fifth Avenue, will reopen, after closing for renovations in March 2014.
The iconic location is a mansion designed in 1904 and used as a private residence until 1917. That same year, Pierre Cartier, the grandson of the brand’s founder, bought it by trading a pearl necklace worth $1 million for it (which Cartier has now reproduced and will display at the flagship store). Cartier also bought a townhouse, on East 52nd Street, which was incorporated into the store, and lived on its top floors for years.
According to a recent piece in the New York Times, the renovated store – one of the last the private mansions to remain in the area – was redone under the direction of the French architect Thierry W. Despont, and transformed into a design that is reminiscent of a grand Parisian hotel, complete with airy salons, limed oak panels, gilded plaster Art Deco-style friezes, and a brand new and grand central staircase lined by private salons. On each floor, shoppers pass through the stations of all that Cartier has to offer: accessories, stationery and watches.
As befits a brand who’s been worn by royalty and celebrities – from King Edward VII of England to the present Duchess of Cambridge, aka Kate Middleton, the reopening event is to be attended by some well-known names – including celebrities Sofia Coppola, Katie Holmes, Rooney Mara, Uma Thurman and Catherine Zeta-Jones.