Interview: Sofia Coppola for Cartier
Filmmaker, style icon and friend of Cartier, she reveals her fondest memories of the house, and why it is the one true symbol of Parisian craftsmanship and glamour.
Sofia Coppola is a terribly busy woman with her finger in myriad pies, but unlike a jack of all trades, she is a master of every single thing she does. The films of the American director, including Lost in Translation, Marie Antoinette and Somewhere, rank among the best of 21st-century cinema, and are still watched and talked about by people today. Her style – which editors and bloggers term “effortlessly elegant with a subtle, Parisian ease” – still turns heads, and remains relevant today and, most certainly, tomorrow. This innate timelessness, which Coppola embraces in the stories she tells through her flicks, in her style choices and in the way she broaches life, is a big draw for Cartier, the French jeweler and watchmaker that has tapped the popular figure as its new friend. “I have always loved Cartier,” says Coppola. “It is the height of beauty, heritage, craftsmanship and history.”
Everyone remembers their first encounter with Cartier – do you?
“Absolutely! I have this strong memory of Cartier’s red box and how exciting it looked.”
What is it about that famous red box – la petite boîte rouge – that fascinated you so?
“There’s something sexy about Cartier’s little red box because it is both for men and women, and it often comes accompanied with a sense of celebration! The box also suggests confidence because it’s simple in appearance and doesn’t have too much on it. I still feel very spoiled when I receive one!”
As you say, Cartier has something for both women and men. That aspect gives it a different and even sexier energy, doesn’t it?
“Cartier certainly has major sex appeal. Men wear Cartier and love it as much as women do. There’s a straightforwardness here, which is nice.”
What was your first Cartier timepiece?
“I remember buying my first Cartier watch – a mini Tank – when I had finished filming Marie Antoinette in 2005. I often do that after a big project – I buy myself a treat to remember it by. So I went into the shop and found this miniature one. It was little and narrow, and had a matte crocodile strap; I like how the strap clicked open. I really love Cartier’s attention to detail.”
To Cartier, you embody talent, creativity, style and a distinct vision and voice. What does Cartier mean to you?
“Cartier has always been linked to creative people, like Yves Saint Laurent, who appreciate good design. There is something really cool about the Cartier style, it is not overly ornate, but classic and timeless. I bought my mini Tank more than 10 years ago and I still love it. Cartier makes pieces that you keep your entire life. I definitely have pieces of my own which I really treasure. I mean, my wedding ring is from Cartier! I also have a slender bracelet from the Nouvelle Vague collection that I wear every day. It’s made from platinum and looks like nothing much, but is in fact very subtly embellished with diamonds. That’s what I like about Cartier: It can be understated or extravagant, depending on your mood. It is sometimes elegant, sometimes playful.”
Cartier, playful? Really?
“Yes! Cartier can be playful. They have pieces which come apart and turn into other things. There’s something fun about discovering that a piece of jewelry can transform.”
Cartier clients like Wallis Simpson, Barbara Hutton, Doris Duke and Millicent Rogers were all American-born style icons. What is it about Cartier and chic Americans?
“Babe Paley must have worn Cartier, too. I love all these women, especially pictures of them during the era they lived in. They traveled to Europe and knew how to mix jewels in a more casual way that was intrinsically more American.”
What about American women today?
“With super minimal clothing taking over, I feel that women want to wear jewelry again. Pairing a simple shirt with a really beautiful necklace… there’s nothing like a piece of jewelry to liven things up. I love jewelry! There’s something fun about wearing it. It gives a spark and you feel a thrill, and I feel that the older you get, the more you can wear it.”
What’s been your favorite Cartier moment?
“Recently, I’ve enjoyed wearing Cartier’s Art Deco diamond earrings. They are so beautiful and I got to wear them at the Marrakech Film Festival when giving an award to Bill Murray. I never wear earrings, but I couldn’t resist these!”
The panther became Cartier’s emblem in 1914. Today, the panther remains the brand’s icon. Do you have an affinity with this creature?
“I love that it has remained Cartier’s iconic motif. The panther is playful, sexy, and a bit dangerous. I like the idea of the panther as a bracelet, cavorting around your wrist. Thomas, my husband, gave me a little panther ring, which has tiny emerald eyes. There’s something decadent and, yes, playful at the same time about it – there’s an aspect of folly!”
Text by Kenny Loh
Images by Cartier Archives © Cartier, Vincent Wulveryck © Cartier 2013, Andrew Durham
This story was first published in L’Officiel Singapore.