LifeStyle/Luxury – all that Glitters

A Peek Inside the Cartier Fifth Avenue Mansion

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As told by an editor at purewow.com – an American digital media company that elevates the everyday from the everyday…. if you know what I mean.

You know when you’re in a particularly fabulous store and you just kinda moan, “Ugh, I want to live here”?

Well, the new Cartier Fifth Avenue Mansion in the heart of Manhattan garners that same response. Although it’s not new. And it was actually home to a big-name financier back in the 1910s, until he sold it to the Cartier family in exchange for $100 and a double strand of 128 natural pearls (trust us, they were some good pearls). A century later the landmark still stands, and now with a major Manhattan-sized facelift. (Two and a half years, four times the size.) Here’s what made us go weak in the knees during a private tour of the place—or should we say palace?
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A ROOM THAT PAYS HOMAGE TO A SCREEN QUEEN

Vacationing in the South of France is pretty dreamy. Vacationing in the South of France while your husband adorns you with custom Cartier jewels is the stuff of legends. The Elizabeth Taylor Salon in the Cartier Fifth Avenue Mansion is filled with gems as big as the movie star herself. And when you’re done fawning over those creations, you can turn your attention to the triptych of still photographs grabbed from a home movie, shot in August 1957 while Taylor and her husband, film producer Mike Todd, were vacationing in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France. It was there that Todd presented her with a Cartier ruby and diamond necklace—while she was in her bikini, mind you. (The photos on the wall feel like the most glamorous Instagram story, ever.)cartier2

AN IN-HOUSE PERFUMER TAKES RESIDENCE ON THE FOURTH FLOOR

A sensory experience unlike any other, the fourth floor is home to Cartier perfumer Mathilde Laurent’s 11 exclusive fragrances—each housed in a tiny red Cartier box. Simply take your pick, open the box and a video will begin to play, illustrating the scent. For what it’s worth, Number VII smells like a field of peonies.cartier3

THE OLD BALLROOM IS NOW HOME TO ALL THE DIAMONDS

All diamonds and engagement rings are located in this oval stunner named the Princess Grace Salon. And, quite honestly, the lighting might be the best in all of Manhattan.cartier4

AND, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE RING

Speaking of Princess Grace of Monaco, the original Cartier engagement ring (a flawless 10.48-carat emerald-cut jaw-dropper flanked by two baguettes) that she received from Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956 will be on exhibit from now until October 15. Sorry, no try-ons.cartier5

AND FINALLY, THE SECRET DOOR…

Last but certainly not least are all the little secrets dotting the Cartier Fifth Avenue Mansion’s six floors, such as a camouflaged door that connects this staircase to the private Jeanne Toussaint Salon, named after Cartier’s first artistic director. The mezzanine is strictly for VIPs only. Clients who are looking to commission one-of-a-kind, high-end pieces gain entry under the supervision of a Cartier employee.

On the prowl for Cartier
On the prowl for Cartier 

Show me to the mezzanine please

But don’t forget… ENVY is one of the seven deadly sins!

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Hermès at Work – What Lies Behind

Whether it be scarves, handbags, watches, saddles, porcelain or clothing  the world of Hermès is made up of style, art, history and luxury at its finest.

The Trademark Orange Thread
My favourite colour – The Trademark Orange Thread
The Saddle
The SADDLE that brings out the equestrian side in all of us
The Saddle Maker
The Saddler, a designer in his own right

The quest for excellence best describes any Hermès objet désirable…and they come in many fabrications or manières, as the French call it. The incomparable workmanship  requires skillful hands with intelligent minds.  It takes time, material, tools, talent and attention to the tiniest detail to produce anything from this famous French house.

The silk roller meticulously adds the finishing touches with silk thread to every scarf.
The silk roller meticulously adds the finishing touches with silk thread to every scarf
A Silk Print
A Silk Print for a scarf

It comes with a price of course, but anything worthwhile does.

I’ve always been curious about the unrivaled craftmanship behind the name, so it was totally amazing to rendez-vous with some of the experts who help produce the famous scarves, handbags, watches, saddles, gloves and porcelain.

The pop-up traveling exhibition was in Vancouver at the Jack Poole Plaza by the Olympic Cauldron with the beautiful mountain backdrop for only five days, September 21-25th.  Whoever was lucky enough to step inside got a little glimpse into a unique world with live on site demonstrations by authentic craftspeople all of whom are of French descent with cute French accents.

Porcelain from Start to Finish
Steps for Porcelain Plates on their way to completion
The Porcelain Painter. They are decorated near Limoges in France.
The Porcelain Painter. They are decorated near Limoges in France.
The Watchmaker keeps time ticking with hundreds of miniscule components.
The Watchmaker keeps time ticking with hundreds of miniscule components.

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I have a new found appreciation for my Hermès silk scarves since I know the steps towards completion are time consuming and numerous.  I have yet to come across a silk scarf so lovely.  Or a handbag, or a multitude of other things come to think of it. 

The Glover
The Glover transforms a Skin into a Second Skin
Finished Silk Scarf
Finished Silk Scarf
The Kelly Bag
The Graceful Kelly Bag

The finished product in all its perfection

Photos: d. king

 Have you seen it?

**And, if that wasn’t enough I got a smile from both Will & Kate and a wave from Kate (a royal bonus) from the car they were in (their window was completely rolled down) when their motorcade passed by on the way to visit Vancouver Coastguard.  I was out walking my dog in the direction of the Coastguard at the exact time they passed by.  I was not with the tons of people waiting by the sign that said “viewing area”.  My dog was sitting down where the cars were passing by wearing his bright red bandana.  I was all in leather.  I think we attracted their attention (I like to think of it that way).  A couple was standing beside us and they couldn’t believe it.  A little bit of magic for our Sunday. So I bought a lottery ticket right after.  If  you don’t see any more posts I’ll be in the Bahamas!  I heard it’s better there.