Cartier’s new signature collection, Clash de Cartier is disrupting jewelry codes by mixing punk spikes with refined rose gold. At the launch in Paris, Sorbet chats with Cartier’s Marketing and Communications Director Arnaud Carrez to discover a legacy in the making.
Q: When researching Clash de Cartier, I could not help but admire the word “pulsating” you used to describe the collection. I love the description and found it unusual for jewelry. How does it evoke this feeling?

A: I think the Clash de Cartier collection reflects on the constant creative exploration of Cartier. You have to push boundaries and explore new territories. The notion of tension and intensity is very much encoded in the design of Clash. If you look at the Juste un Clou collection or Love, they both have very distinctive, powerful designs. This idea of spikes on the Clash pieces make them very intense. So this word could apply to most Cartier creations because, by essence, Cartier creations are not generic; they are not cliché. They are very distinctive, powerful and strong by essence.

Q: And they have a strong identity?

A: Yes, a strong identity. I think this is a key differentiator for us.

Q: The word ‘clash’. Was it a consensus? That you were going to call the new range Clash?

A: Yes. It was a consensus. The name is perfect and evokes exactly what the design is about. It is elegant yet at the same time it has spikes. They have a sense of fluidity, mobility and aspiration to them. It moves, it’s elegant, it’s spiky, it’s strong. And the word is naturally a Cartier word.

Q: It’s a statement. When you wear Clash, you’re making a statement: I’m strong, I’m reinforced.

A: Yes, it’s like a shelter, like the Juste un Clou or Love bracelets, they shield you. It’s a protection, and at the same time it’s showing your personality, your character, your assertiveness. But it is not aggressive; it’s elegant.

Q: Clash is for men and women, but it feels more feminine for me. Do you expect many men to wear it?

A: Clash caters to a large audience, mostly women to a large extent, but I think some men will be inspired by the collection. Cartier pieces are universal designs, and they are also transgenerational. We don’t engage with a specific age group.

Q: Using the British actress Kaya Scodelario as the face was also a surprise?

A: We like surprises. I think Kaya is a very interesting friend of the maison because she resonates with our spirit and values. She is multicultural – she is English with Brazilian, Italian and Spanish origins. She is an emerging talent. She is growing and is not super well known. When I first met her, before we did this collaboration, I felt that she had a lot of character and a lot of spike as well. I saw her as a natural interpretation of Clash.

Q: She’s an interesting choice of face for you guys.

A: We like to build inclusive communities. For example, when we host a magnificent exhibition of Cartier jewels, the scenography is created by the Japanese photographer and architect, Hiroshi Sugimoto. We have worked with him for many years through the Fondation Cartier. English architect Norman Foster did the scenography of the Cartier in Motion exhibition in London two years ago at the Design Museum and we have collaborated on projects for Cartier boutiques. We are building bridges. In France, Melanie Laurent was part of the Social Labs in San Francisco. We don’t want to cluster people into ‘those are the celebrities, those are the influencers etc’. We can leverage this community in many different ways.

Q: When you talk about Clash, I love that you said “Ce n’est pas un bruit, c’est un son.” (It is not a noise, it’s a sound.) When you describe it so beautifully, it’s like poetry.

A: I think it echoes very much with who we are. Beyond Clash, we are not interested in making noise. Clash in itself, is not a noisy collection. It has subtlety; it has style; it has a lot of sense and meaning. It’s also because it naturally embodies Cartier’s stylistic vocabulary with the beads and the studs. Cartier style is like a living language; like a living dictionary. We keep adding new words, words consistent with the current ones. We say that we respect our heritage and it is because we respect our heritage that we manage to enrich it by continuously pushing the boundaries of style and creativity.

Q: I understand in September we were going to see the white gold version of Clash?

A: Yes, and there will be much more.

Q: There will be an evolution of the Clash?

A: Yes. You will hear about Clash for many, many years. The story continues.

Q: And last question. What is your favorite flavor of sorbet?

A: What a surprising question. You took me by surprise. Clash! A new flavor has to be created.