The Venice Film Festival is like no other festival. From its magical setting in the ancient floating city to the parade of stars on the red carpets arriving via water taxi and photographers trailing celebrities in boats along the canals, it’s a glamorous scene that appears to be right out of a movie itself. But the real fun happens at the intimate soirées that are far away from the paparazzi.
One of the hottest invitations this year was Cartier’s nightly after-hours parties on the rooftop of the Gritti Palace overlooking the Grand Canal, where guests Jake Gyllenhaal, Rami Malek, Isabelle Huppert, and Timothée Chalamet lounged under the stars while the resident Cartier DJ set the mood. And absent were the cameras.
“We had a lot of requests from people who wanted to come, but we don’t want the crowds,” explains Arnaud Carrez, Cartier’s chief marketing officer. “We wanted to host something more intimate where our friends can feel relaxed.”
As one of the festival’s major sponsors, Cartier made the most of the fairytale setting and hosted an intimate star-studded dinner one evening at the magnificent Palazzo Giustiniani alle Zattere, a 16th century palace which is still owned by the family who built it centuries ago. Guests including Huppert, Malek, Bianca Brandolini, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, who made her directorial debut at the festival with The Lost Daughter, were given a tour by the palazzo’s owner, who revealed that the remarkable Canaletto on the wall had been stolen decades earlier but was quickly recovered. Such is life in a Venetian palace.
The enchanted location wasn’t lost on Cartier’s CEO, Cyrille Vigneron, who welcomed the dinner guests and underscored the urgent need for beauty in our lives.
“What makes us happy is not useful,” he declared. “Love, art, culture, cinema, sports, beauty—they make us happy and they are not useful.” Like the art of cinema, he says that Cartier is in the business of making something which isn’t necessarily useful but that is needed to create joy. “We have a responsibility to create something of beauty…something that makes us fall in love. We always to have to fall in love because it’s what drives us—so let’s be in love.” With that, he kicked off the spirit of the 78th Venice Film Festival. While it was restricted in size due to COVID-19, there was a sense of high emotion as people finally returned to celebrating the art of making films.
Cartier’s commitment to beauty goes far beyond jewels. The house has a history of championing arts and culture, and its Fondation Cartier is dedicated to supporting contemporary art in every form. “Cartier is always exploring new territories and discovering new fields of creativity,” explains Carrez. “We can address any kind of art as long as we address it with authenticity.” That’s why the brand has committed to a multi-year partnership with the world’s oldest film festival, which was established in 1932.
Cartier’s participation in cinema even predates the film festival: the brand first appeared in a movie in 1928 when Rudolph Valentino refused to take off his Cartier Tank watch while filming The Son of Sheikh, and it can be glimpsed in some scenes. Over the decades, Cartier has played a leading role on screen in films by Alfred Hitchcock and Billy Wilder and, of course, on countless stars on the red carpet.
Celebrities shined again in Cartier’s signature pieces at this year's event in Venice. Isabelle Hubbert wore a Panthère suite of jewels from the 1970s, Egyptian superstar Yasmine Sabri donned a newly created version of the house’s iconic diamond crocodile necklace, Mariacarla Boscono chose a statement-making emerald and diamond necklace and ring, and Bianca Brandolini turned heads in a vintage Panthère collar, along with matching earrings and a cuff. And, as Cartier’s newest Friend of the House, Chalamet once again showed us that fine jewelry looks cool on men.
At the premiere of his new sci-fi film Dune, directed by Frank Herbert, the young celebrity topped his super-sleek all-black Haider Ackermann outfit with Cartier rings and a brooch. At a press conference earlier in the day, he sported a hoodie by the same designer, adorned with a Cartier 1913 sword brooch and a 1990s beetle brooch. “As a man of passion, independence, open-mindedness and creativity, Timothée’s bold approach to life— conveyed through his professional choices and his free-spirited style—is intrinsically aligned with Cartier’s core values,” said Carrez.
The festival, which ends on September 11, is known for debuting top award contenders, and always a few surprises. This year’s stellar lineup includes Dune, Pedro Almodovar’s Parallel Mothers with Penelope Cruz, and the highly anticipated Princess Di biopic, Spencer with Kristen Stewart.
The Cartier Glory to the Filmmaker Award will honor Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Blade Runner, Alien, Thelma & Louise) for his original contributions to the contemporary film industry. It’s being awarded on Friday, September 10 before the screening of his film, The Last Duel, which marks the on-screen return of the duo Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.
Cartier created the trophy in its workshop in the shape of its signature panther, mounted on a marble base. Leave it to Cartier to elevate the award itself—and leave its iconic mark on the art filmmaking.
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