A New Show Reveals How Jean Cocteau, Andy Warhol, and Other Cultural Icons Propelled Cartier Jewelry to Cult Status

The show “Studio 7 by Cartier” at Saatchi Gallery is open now.

Jean Cocteau photographed in his Trinity rings by Luc Fournol in the early 1960s. Photo courtesy Cartier.
Jean Cocteau photographed in his Trinity rings by Luc Fournol in the early 1960s. Photo courtesy Cartier.

A new exhibition at Saatchi Gallery in London chronicles the history of luxury jewelry house Cartier’s relationships with cultural icons through the ages.

Major figures across art, fashion, film, and beyond are captured in this photo-led exhibition (titled “Studio 7 by Cartier”) wearing cult Cartier pieces whose own mythology has, over the years, become wrapped up in that of its glamorous wearers, from Andy Warhol and his Tank watch, to Jean Cocteau with his Trinity ring.

The show, which assumes the ground floor of the space through the weekend, captures how Cartier’s seven most beloved watch and jewelry collections—Santos, Tank, Trinity, Love, Juste Un Clou, Panthère, and Ballon Bleu—have cemented their places in the wider culture. 

Andy Warhol photographed at his studio in his Tank wristwatch by Arnold Newman in February 1973. © Arnold Newman Properties/Getty Images. Used with the permissions from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, inc.

Andy Warhol photographed at his studio in his Tank wristwatch by Arnold Newman in February 1973. © Arnold Newman Properties/Getty Images. Used with the permission from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, inc.

The brand’s story is told through four rooms that feature black-and-white photography, beginning with the section Legends, which exhibits famous historical portraits, including those of Warhol, Cocteau, and Tina Turner, who was particularly fond of her Love bracelet. The room houses some of the earliest objects from these collections, such as a 1916 Santos wristwatch from Cartier Paris, and the very first Juste Un Clou bracelet in yellow gold, sourced from Cartier New York and dated from 1971. 

In the second room—titled Inspiration—more modern-day icons sport creations from all seven collections. They include actress Vanessa Kirby, who wears her own Juste Un Clou bracelet; boxer Ramla Ali, in her Panthère watch; and British photographer Mary McCartney in her Love bracelet (captured in a self-portrait). Other figures in the series also include milliner Stephen Jones, actress Emma Corrin, and director and actor David Oyelowo, among others. 

Photo courtesy Cartier.

An installation view of the show. Photo courtesy Cartier.

In the third room, Studio, a custom-built photography studio invites visitors to be photographed by mentees of Mary McCartney wearing their favorite Cartier creations.

And finally, in the fourth room—Encounters—select portraits taken in the studio are displayed in an ever-changing digital mosaic.

Visitors can also take home a black-and-white print-out of their portraits. 

“I have always been fascinated by all the wonderful memories evoked by Cartier creations and shared not only by our friends of the maison, but also by our loyal clients,” says Laurent Feniou, managing director of Cartier U.K. “Whether passed down from generation to generation or a symbolic marker of a precious moment, we are thrilled to pay tribute to these unique stories in such an iconic London establishment that is Saatchi Gallery.”

To learn more about the exhibition, click here


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