Cartier celebrates 100 years in its Fifth Avenue home with a revamped flagship boutique.
A snapshot of the boutique a year after its 1917 sale to Pierre Cartier.
Almost 100 years ago, in 1917, Cartier acquired its now iconic New York City mansion—a neo-Renaissance stunner at Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street—in a legendary trade dreamt up by Pierre Cartier, grandson of the brand’s founder. New York financier Morton F. Plant agreed to exchange the building for a double-strand necklace of flawlessly graduated natural pearls with which his wife, Mae, had become enamored. At the time, the necklace was valued at $1 million—about $75,000 more than the building itself.
In early September, Cartier is unveiling the results of a four-year renovation spearheaded by New York-based interior designer Thierry Despont. The extensive work included leveling the retail space on the first floor, enlarging the penthouse event space, and redesigning the storefront. A new, open staircase will now connect all four floors, with the sales space increasing from 8,600 square feet on two levels to 44,100 square feet on four.
“The Cartier mansion is an icon,” says Despont, whose work seamlessly integrates the historic with the contemporary. “I wanted to give people the feeling of being in the grand house that it once was and to restore it to its full glory. I don’t think there is any other store like it in the world.” 653 Fifth Ave., NYC, 212-940-2220
PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAINER HOSCH (DESPONT); COURTESY OF NEW YORK
ARCHIVES @ CARTIER (EXTERIOR)