María del Rosario de Silva y Gurtubay, Duchess of Alba and mother of the legendary Cayetana Fitz-James Stuart, posed at the end of the twenties for the American edition of fashion with onyx and diamond bracelets by Cartier. The image, taken by George Hoyningen-Huene, a pioneer in the genre of fashion photography, reflected the aristocrat’s predilection for the French house, which was already an official supplier to the Spanish royal family and its court. Almost a hundred years later, in these new crazy twenties, Cartier has chosen the Palacio de Liria, Madrid residence of the Alba, to celebrate the launch of Beautes du Mondehis new collection of high jewelry.
It is the first time in its history that the firm presents its high jewelery creations in Spain. Every year, and for two decades, the Parisian house has chosen a city in the world to bring together its most important clients from the five continents and the international press and unveil a set of unique pieces – one of each type is produced – and of value almost incalculable. The house has been perfecting these presentations until they become true luxury experiences.
Over the next few days, buyers from all over the world will meet in the Spanish capital to discover this new collection. To accommodate them, Cartier has completely renovated the old embassy of the United Kingdom, a round building designed by the English brutalist WS Bryant and the Spanish rationalist Luis Blanco-Soler in 1966. The structure, which imitates a bullring and stands out among the mansions classics from the Chamberí neighbourhood, had been abandoned for 12 years.
Now the designer Jaime Hayón has converted the Madrid building into what he has called the largest and most beautiful “ephemeral jewelery store” in the world, a cabinet of curiosities Borgian: circular, labyrinthine and almost infinite. In these “rooms of wonders” not only are a hundred pieces of Beautes du Mondebut also jewels from other collections, haute horlogerie and historical pieces, including the famous necklace Snake of the Mexican actress María Félix, with 2,473 brilliant-cut diamonds and a weight of 178.21 carats. Everything can be bought there, and everything has a price. The sky of Madrid is the limit.
On Tuesday night, the Versailles gardens of Liria hosted a cocktail at the foot of the parterre and a dinner under the leafy galleries of vegetation. A corner of the palace where the Duchess of Alba used to celebrate her most intimate family events. The dancer and choreographer Blanca Li and the actress Milena Smit, new Cartier ambassadors, were two of the guests of honour, although Li’s role went further, since she was also in charge of the artistic direction of the evening. “The idea was to create a universe with a Spanish touch. Many people have come from abroad and I wanted them to know that they are in Spain. I wanted them to savor what we are”, explained the dancer.
Li continues to live between Madrid and Paris —”two cities with completely different energies, but which fill me up a lot”—, from where he combines several projects: the world tour of his show The Ball of Paris, which has just finished at the Barbican Center in London and is now at the Venice Biennale; a new Show based on baroque music, which will be presented in January; and the management of the Teatros del Canal in the Spanish capital. “The Canal Theaters is a ship, a transatlantic. It requires a lot of work, but it’s worth it”, recognized the choreographer, who tries to take advantage of two complementary cities. “Madrid gives me some things, and Paris others. I keep what I like about each one and ignore the rest”.
The spirit of the duchess
For her part, Milena Smit, the last Almodóvar girl, is immersed in several shoots that she cannot reveal. “But I can talk about the projects that I am going to launch: dragonflies, directed by Luc Knowles, which hits theaters in September; Y Tin & Tina, a Rubin Stein film in which I act alongside Jaime Lorente”, he advanced. In addition, it will soon be possible to see it on Netflix twice with the snow girlthe series that is preparing the platform of streaming based on Javier Castillo’s bestseller; Y Soulthe new youth series by Sergio G. Sánchez (The Secret of Marrowbone).
The actress, who rose to fame last year with parallel mothers, is thrilled with her new role as ambassador for Cartier. “I am quite a badass, but I feel identified with the firm because my spiritual animal is the panther, the symbol of the house. I have always loved felines,” she explained, as she petted her choker. panthere. “I wish I could keep her, I would sleep with her.”
The Italian aristocrat Bianca Brandolini d’Adda, another friend of the firm, also did not miss the appointment. “It is not the first time that I am in the palace of Liria. Many years ago, the Duchess of Alba invited me and I got to know the house with her. It’s strange to come back and she’s not here. Her spirit is still alive, ”recalled the also model. Brandolini met up with her compatriot, supermodel Mariacarla Boscono, and met another ambassador from the housethe influencer South Korean Jisoo, a member of the group Blackpink, who has almost 62 million followers on her Instagram account.
Before dinner, a dozen models paraded through the gardens with some of the most important pieces of Beautes du Monde and Alvarno dresses. Designers Álvaro Castejón and Arnaud Maillard created each suit taking inspiration from a jewel in the collection: Nouchalia water lily with a rubellite of 10.61 carats; Yo quiero, an abstract green iguana with three emeralds from Colombia totaling 43.45 carats; either recifa coral necklace inspired by the marine ecosystem.
The night ended with a surprise concert by the Black Eyed Peas, the popular Californian hip hop band. But Tuesday’s event in Liria has only been the starting signal of two weeks of vertigo for Cartier. The Parisian house will give more parties and will bring more than 300 VIP clients from all over the world to Madrid so that they can see —and buy, if they wish— the pieces that make up the first chapter of Beautes du Mondea journey around the world and the history of house.
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