I try to spend my life photographing beauty. It is what brings me the greatest joy and to that which I want cast my gaze upon for eternity. Of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in the world, nothing will ever outshine what nature gives to us. How she makes woman with delicate skin and blushing cheeks, the colors of an exploding flower at the height of its bloom and that exceptional gift of gemstones and diamonds like stars that have fallen from the heavens to earth.
Recently we had lunch with Cartier at The Modern where we were first introduced to to their Étourdissant collection, a beautiful french word for “splendid”. The high jewelry collection is Cartier’s showcase of the most extraordinary, one of a kind pieces that can take the Maison years to create with the finest precious stones in the word. A collection so spectacular it is dizzying, like life itself if we watch with our eyes wide open. As we talked about the collection I was enchanted with the source of inspiration: the south of France, the Côte d’Azur, light and shadows, radiance and hues and the painters from France that created such vibrant works of beauty as a window into a world of natural wonders.
This thought of natural beauty stuck to me and I let images flood my mind and take me into an afternoon reverie. I became engrossed with the idea of creating Renoir’s garden. A place of dappled color, untamed beauty, a young girl with iridescent paper-like skin dreaming of all to come in life lost in her thoughts as she whiles away the afternoon. She is innate beauty nestled in a bouquet of nature’s glorious shimmering colors. We watch her, with all the luxury of time, her jewels that seem to float off her delicate skin and glitter in the warm, late afternoon light. She lives in a world of splendor changed only be the gentle breeze that sweeps through kissing her cheeks and carrying her thoughts away.
The house of Cartier has reminded me that we must celebrate beauty, treasure color, create contrasts and seek character for it is the explosion of these things that make the world étourdissant.
“You come to nature with all your theories, and she knocks them all flat.”- Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Étourdissant Cartier Collection ring, 18k yellow gold, opal, colored sapphires, black lacquer, diamonds with vintage Gucci grey silk chiffon gown from Cloak Wardrobe under a rainbow pastel chiffon skirt by Marchesa.
“The work of art must seize upon you, wrap you up in itself and carry you away. It is the means by which the artist conveys his passion. It is the current which he puts forth which sweeps you along in his passion.” – Pierre-Auguste Renoir
“I look at a nude. There are myriads of tiny tints. I must find the ones that will make the flesh on my canvas live and quiver.” – Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Étourdissant Cartier Collection earrings, 18k yellow gold, imperial topazes, colored sapphires, black lacquer, diamonds along with an Étourdissant Cartier Collection bracelet, 18k yellow gold, onyx, diamonds and nude silk chiffon gown by vintage Alexander McQueen from Cloak Wardrobe.
“I like a painting which makes me want to stroll in it.” – Pierre-Auguste Renoir
“Why shouldn’t art be pretty? There are enough unpleasant things in the world.” – Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Cartier Étourdissant collection shot at Jack Studios in New York City || Modeled by Emma Bartlett || Styled by Krisana Sotelo || Floral Set Design by Putnam & Putnam || Prop Stylist by Zio & Sons || Makeup by Christine Cherbonnier || Hair by Michael Thomas Lollo || Nails by Angel Williams
Some of the Pierre-Auguste Renoir paintings that inspired this story:
Femme avec parasol dans un jardin || Girl with Daises || The Bathers || La Promenade || The Lovers || Dance at Bougival || By the Seashore || Nude 1910 || In the Garden || Young Girl Bathing || Reclining Nude || In the Meadow || Young Woman Seated || The fisherman