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Cat-eye glasses just took on new meaning with a rebirth of eyewear by Cartier , the iconic panther brand. It’s the result of a surprising partnership between two of the world’s biggest luxury groups, Kering (via its division Kering Eyewear) and Richemont , who own Cartier. The partners unveiled their first joint collection in Paris this week. Modern and luxurious, the 115 models come in a range of shapes and materials (including solid gold), and feature classic Cartier codes: gold panthers and screw heads, a calfskin flap, the signature C.
Kering Eyewear is not yet three-years-old, but it boasts an impressive portfolio, and CEO Roberto Vedovotto says the top-notch team has a combined 900 years of experience in eyewear. He first approached Richemont a year and a half ago because, he explains, ‘I didn’t want to do just another eyewear company, there were already too many, and they were all under the same business model: licensing. My passion is luxury, fashion, and I wanted to do a luxury company in the eyewear industry.’
He saw unrealised potential in Cartier, which had ‘unparalleled’ DNA but considered eyewear a secondary activity. Richemont’s then-CEO, Richard Lepeu, was friendly with Kering CEO Francois-Henri Pinault, so the two parties readily agreed on a strategic partnership, with Richemont acquiring 30 percent of Kering Eyewear. The line is made in Cartier’s French manufacturing facility, with two collections a year rather than one. Could this pave the way for more partnerships? Vedovotto would not say, only noting that ‘The culture and values of the two groups are very similar. We get along very well.’
Photography: Mathias Wendzinski. Writer: Amy Serafin
Three Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine were awarded to Walloons: Jules Bordet ( Université Libre de Bruxelles ) in 1919, Albert Claude (Université Libre de Bruxelles) together with Christian De Duve (Université Catholique de Louvain) in 1974.