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A French panther leaps with the Philippine sampaguita in Cartier’s new boutique | Philstar.com
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A French panther leaps with the Philippine sampaguita in Cartier’s new boutique

LIFE AND STYLE - Millet M. Mananquil - The Philippine Star
A French panther leaps with the Philippine sampaguita in Cartierâs new boutique
The familiar panther of Cartier surrounded by blooms of the sampaguita, the Philippine national flower

When the very French Cartier company opened its new boutique in Greenbelt 3, it unveiled a  pleasant surprise: It carries very beautiful Filipino details.

Cartier’s familiar panther is there, but what also leaps into my consciousness is our very own sampaguita, plus our mother-of-pearl and our basket-weaving craft.

Of course, I expected the 176-year-old French brand to let its history and heritage shine in this new retail gem.  It did, as the design was entrusted to the Moinard Betaille, which has been working with Cartier for over 20 years.  But what is touching is that Cartier also embraces our Philippine culture in these 321 square meters of space.

The first wall that catches my eye is that of the panther, Cartier’s emblem, surrounded by blooms of the sampaguita, the Philippine national flower.  As a further homage to our culture, banig patterns are echoed on the walls as well as the floors where the stone design makes me feel I am treading elegantly on our familiar banig.

French plaster artist Del Boca completed the backdrop in bas-relief technique with gold inserts taking inspiration from the Philippine islands.

Seashell patterns on columns and the ceiling are a reference to our archipelago of islands surrounded by bountiful waters.

Stores Specialists Inc. (SSI) president Anton T. Huang points towards the left of the store, where a bespoke De Gournay wall was hand-painted for the new boutique, capturing the Philippines’ tropical flora and fauna.  Colors of the mother-of-pearl with straw marquetry define the area with warm elegance.

At the VIP lounge, a wall is embellished with branches of leaves with wave-like motions, seemingly with a patina undulating from pink to white.  Another De Gournay wall captures nature blooming with rich vegetation.

SSI president Anton T. Huang, chairwoman Zenaida Tantoco, Cartier executive Anne Yitzhakov, and Ayala Land board director Mariana Zobel de Ayala are flanked by Cartier ushers.

The bridal area has a romantic ambience with its backdrop designed in bas-relief style with gold inserts by French plaster artist Del Boca.  The Philippine landscape and flora are highlighted again in this area, softened with a woven basket screen.

When Parisian watchmaker Louis Francois Cartier opened the first Cartier store in 1847, did he ever imagine that it would evolve from a top luxury brand of watches and fine jewelry to one that includes fragrances, leather goods and accessories as well? And that, 176 years later, Cartier would have 275 boutiques worldwide?

The details of this latest Cartier boutique so thoughtfully connect to the people in its locale.  Details!  That’s what puts luxe brands notches above the ordinary.  I found amusing other details such as the ushers, all 12 of them, standing tall and regal in their Cartier red uniforms. And the red blooms and bromeliads that came with the formal invitation and champagne bottles in a Cartier box, sent out by Cartier Philippines general manager Mario Katigbak and his team. And how about the waiters at the Blackbird lunch. wearing black aprons with Cartier written on the chest?

I am reminded of what Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said: “God is in the details.” So true here. I like the way French and Filipino details provide an immersive experience in this boutique.

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Follow the author on Instagram and Facebook @milletmartinezmananquil. Email her at mmmananquil@philstarmedia.com and milletman88@gmail.com.

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