The scene is unbelievable, a story that
 seems unreal but is true, living up
to those legends that are the substance
of dreams.

  It sounds amazing but one day, the famous Mexican
     actress María Félix turned up unannounced
     at Cartier. The amazing part was the crocodile.
        Small, maybe, but well and truly alive. The Mexican
        star announced her desire to have a necklace made in
           the shape of the crocodile. At Cartier, nothing
             is impossible, the unpredictable is welcomed
                with open arms.

                     The piece was ready a few months later.
                       Utterly lifelike, the creation had been
                         sculpted and embellished in the image
                                of the original, demanding a
                                 virtuoso performance from its
                                maker who had to work fast to
                              finish it before the original model
                          grew any bigger… This is an amazing
                      and colourful story, and Cartier has
                        captured its eternally eternally modern
                             essence through its very contemporary
                                   watch, La Doña de Cartier.  

La Doña de Cartier (int. night - silhouette - medium close-up) La Doña de Cartier is its name for “the” woman,
“the” WATCH in capital letters on the poster for a forthcoming attraction.

Scene I - Stage entrance - (int. night - dolly back - backstage view) She appears in shot, sensationally seductive.
Gold on her wrist: reptilian links, curved glass, a wild look. The provocative watch sets the cameras flashing
and whirring every time it appears.


Scene I - Stage entrance

Scene II - Action!

Scene III - Minutes of extravagance

Scene IV - The tribute


Scene II - Action! - (int. night - wide shot – detail) It moves and dances on her arm with a bewitching snake-like suppleness. It is clear she wants to provoke, to shine with audacity, with lyricism, to captivate the eye, here, tonight, in Paris or in Mexico.

Scene III - Minutes of extravagance - (int. night - close-up shot) Rotating in black and white, the double-edged swords of its hands, the roman numerals on its unique white dial. A trapezoid shape with the subtle, asymmetrical profile of a crocodile’s head, the fetish she has tattooed on her skin as a sign of her exuberance. The animal, like her, moves like a predator of light.

Scene IV - The tribute - (int. night - close-up shot) We think of María Félix, an important client of Cartier, an actress with an incredible magnetism, half Indian, half Spanish. The embodiment of Latin sensuality who lives her life like a film, emblazoning it with her fiery eyes, her corseted curves. This passionate creature creates as much spectacle off-screen as on it, draped in sensational fineries and in Cartier.

Totally animal, a woman and a watch: co-starring in flamboyant and precious style. Yellow gold sets the tone, radiating from one link to the next; polished, dense, solid half-moons that glint like scales, following in the wake of a star. A jewellery watch, a watch in movement that undulates on the end of an arm in a sensual tracking shot. A fiery reptile, wildly precious and slender, a robe of skin that sparkles with presence. La Doña de Cartier watch triumphs in the glinting spotlights, spectacularly excessive and totally seductive.

María Félix,
the oracle of the “reptile” style according to Cartier


“They admired my beauty and intelligence, I was only a woman with the heart of a man. A warrior.” María Félix

One of Cartier’s faithful customers, a character of legend and cinema whose wild beauty was depicted to perfection in black and white, her appearances enflamed both hearts and imaginations. With glowing eyes, jet-black hair, lips outlined in red and the longest hands, she did everything with passion. A lover of love, at 28, she was the most famous Latin-American actress in the world.

A stage entrance in Cartier for a star
Jack Pallance, Curd Jurgens, Gérard Philippe, Yves Montand, Jean Gabin… she played with the greatest actors and directors, from Renoir to Bunuel, in the same way that she played in life. An animal seductress, whose burning exoticism conquered Mexico, Argentina and then Paris, its poets and artists, like Jean Cocteau and Léonor Fini, used her as a muse for their works. An unrivalled Parisian, her appearances at the race courses
made headline news, with articles on her style, coloured boots, huge capes, and printed silk frocks, as well as her jewellery, signed by Cartier, naturally. Bracelets, necklaces, hoop earrings… those famous earrings, sumptuous gold and coral shells, were de signed specially for her by Jeanne Toussaint. The actress wanted them to be gorgeous, light, comfortable and very big, thus making Cartier think up a special way of attaching them to the inside of the ear.
A friendship was born between the actress and Cartier.

Masculine feminine, Cartier’s style measures up to a diva’s dreams
María Félix transcended and dramatised her life and found more than just an echo or an answer in Cartier’s style. Her strong personality and her masculine cum feminine style, mirrored in pure lines and larger-than-life jewellery, found a match in the famous jeweller’s de signs. Like the renowned millionaire Barbara Hutton or the Duchess of Windsor, other famous Cartier customers, María Félix wanted to be the mistress of her own destiny. “They admired my beauty and intelligence, I was only a woman with the heart of a man. A warrior.”
This strength and sensuality drew her to Cartier whose de signs were created using a similar force. She remained a loyal customer and success followed success. This artistic and exceptional collaboration reached its peak in 1968 when Cartier delivered her a snake necklace, now classed as a work of art. It was completely articulated, a succession of scales, diamonds, and red, green and black enamel set in platinum, glowing with presence and life, which took Cartier two years to achieve. This incredible jewel was delivered to her in Mexico on her birthday by her friend André Denet, who was then director of the boutique in the Rue de la Paix. Supple and flexible, its incredibly fluidity was due to an aeronautic alpin system which Cartier reworked in miniature.

Posterity for the future
The home of this half-Indian, half-Spanish star, known for her spectacular jewellery, boasted a flamboyant baroque-style interior, with swan-neck taps and all-gold scales in her bathroom, a whim which she asked Cartier to create. Her taste was for the tailormade product, the nonconformist object that suddenly transformed everyday articles into extremely precious items.
Her true accomplice, Cartier took such pride in the diva’s fantastical jewellery that years later, the jeweller purchased them to include them in the Collection Cartier. Special features of the Cartier heritage, like Gloria Swanson’s crystal bracelets or
Barbara Hutton’s tigers, they are now part of a historic collection displayed in the greatest museums around the world. In 1999 at the Muséo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico, María Félix, the guest of honour at the exhibition Resplendor del tiempo, took part, visibly touched, in the spectacular staging of her animals.
Following in the wake of the Duchess of Windsor, Daisy Fellowes, Elisabeth Taylor or Jacqueline Delubac, María Félix was one of those women who invented their own style, with María leaving her famous look in the hands of Cartier.

The crocodile, the star’s iconic talisman
“Her animals”; this is what she called her bejewelled mascots which were part of her animal collection, including the crocodile which remained her iconic talisman, a sacred reptile in Egypt, and the symbol of death and rebirth for the Aztecs. She wore it around her neck, and had a double of this extravagant necklace made by Cartier in 1975. A work larger than life was drawn, created and set based on the original, when the star visited Cartier along with a live baby crocodile in a jar and insisted that a miniature jewelled version of the reptile be made as quickly as possible, as the original never stopped growing! Cartier rose to the occasion-it was not the master of the largest jewellery animal collection for nothing-and shaped María’s dreams in the form of a beast lying in wait. Head, tail, and feet were articulated, its eyes glowed with life, with 1,023 jonquille diamonds for one and 1,066 emeralds for the other. She loved it and wore it as a symbol of exuberance and freedom, representing elegance pushed to its limits, and accompanied by a red cape and black sombrero.
 

Large model in white gold

Large model in yellow gold

Large model in pink gold

Large model in white gold and diamonds

Large model in yellow gold and diamonds

Large model in pink gold and diamonds

Close-up shot Under the spotlights appears an unusual shape; a gold-edged trapezium representing an asymmetrical dial which plays the main role. The eye is drawn to the two severe horizontal lines and lingers on the rounded sides. On the one side, geometry, and on the other, softness, a sort of masculine and feminine combination. The glass is solid, dense, rounded, curvaceous, capturing the light.

Zoom-in Behind the screen, time goes by in black and white. A graphic, extraordinary script made up of Roman numerals which grow larger or smaller, depending on the dial. With an illusion of depth, perspective, and intrusion of the fantastical, La Doña de Cartier watch attracts an appreciate eye, while setting the scene and flirting with mystery.

Zoom-out Gold suddenly appears, making the eyes glow, revealing a flow of reptilian links and creating a bracelet with a sense of drama. Light flows, flashes from one reversed half-moon to the other; solid, polished, articulated, they are the reflection of scales following on from one another.

Tracking shot Right, left, whatever the approach, the profile imposes its entrance in shot. The roundedness of a shapely, generous dial shaped round the wrist, an octagonal crown, notched gold links with an intense, cut edge to them, stretching out to infinity with nothing interrupting the line. A graphic, supple and serpentine silhouette, both animal and mythical; this is La Doña de Cartier.

Maria Felix wearing her famous "Crocodiles" necklace ordered from Cartier in 1975.
  
María Félix wearing her pair of "Serpent" clip earrings, engraved gold and blue enamel, with 2 rubies for the eyes - Designed for her by Cartier in 1971.
 
« Crocodiles » necklace - Design created for María Félix, Cartier Collection, 1975.
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