Les Must de Cartier – 2002
A lavishly produced and rarely-found catalogue of Cartier products, published in 2002 by Assouline in Switzerland.
Hardback, bound in faux leather with gilt titles to the spine and embossed Cartier logo stamped to the front cover. Gilt edges to text block, gold-coloured clasps to corners. Presented in the original leopard-print case.
The book contains hundreds of colour and B&W illustrations of products, advertisements and other images spanning watches, jewellery, bags, eyewear, pens, stationary, lighters, perfumes and leather goods.
Between the gold-embossed pages of this decadent and amusing volume, you’ll find the wall-to-wall monogrammed carpeting, lacquered furniture, tinted glass, panther draperies and mirrors reflecting the faces of celebrities that represented the era of the 1970s and 1980s at the height of its glory.
Nineteen sixty eight. The year all certainties were shattered, it was in good taste to burn what one loved and to trample underfoot the values of yesterday. If, in this new world of dissent, luxury was no longer appropriate, the taste for beauty didn’t completely disappear. No, luxury was not dead! It simply needed to be reinvented. In the midst of this new counterculture, which burned all belongings and lived according to the flames of passion, Cartier enflamed hearts and luxury markets by creating a lighter that landed with the impact of a bomb–“Les Must” de Cartier saw the light of day.
Existing somewhere between tradition and modernity, Cartier’s lighters, pens, watches, glasses, jewelry, leather goods and perfume engulfed the world. Cartier justified luxury by offering a more perfect modernity. Protected by a panther-skin slipcase, this limited-edition volume invites you to visit the delirious parties that announced every new “must. “The 1990s provided the opportunity to calmly reflect on the turbulent, effervescent and paradoxical years of the previous two decades. In perfect harmony with their time, Les Must had also played their part in history, creating a unique legend that would always be their own. They had participated fully in the luxury revolution that shifted away from decorative objects to functional objects, from caste signifier to sign of the times. Indefatigable, Les Musthad accompanied a whole generation of chic jet-setters in their peregrinations. Faithful companions of those who could not be discouraged from any excess, avid partygoers for whom “too much” was not in their vocabulary, Les Must had always been part of the decor.
From Studio 54 in New York, where Mick Jagger, Jacqueline Bisset, Liza Minelli, Andy Warhol, Tina Chow and Halston hung out, to the Palace in Paris, where the oh-so-chic promoters of a new dandyism were Yves Saint-Laurent, Loulou de La Falaise, Paloma Picasso, Gerard Garouste and Andree Putman. From Chez Castel to Chez Regine, where the bright young things gathered, everyone knew each other and dashed around the world on the Concorde. Paris and New York had never been closer to the great joy of this naturally cosmopolitan population, eager to shrink time and live several days, perhaps even several lives, in one day. This book inside its panther slipcase is already a collector’s item. “Les Must de Cartier has now become a legend, part of that mythology of the 1970s and ’80s that saw the world reinvented by an ardent youth who wanted to believe in happiness.”