At the iconic Chez Castel, Cartier hosted a glittering event honouring the Baignoire watch, featuring an emotional performance from Lou Doillon. Here’s what went down
If only the walls of Paris’s Chez Castel could speak, what stories would they tell? “J’aime les filles, de Chez Castel … ” sang Jacques Dutronc in 1967. A cultural hotspot for the city’s well-to-do, the private club on the Left Bank has hosted a long and splendid list of society’s brightest stars. Pierre Bergé, Serge Gainsbourg, Salvador Dalí, Jean-Pierre Cassel and Mick Jagger all lounged in their famed red velvet seats; John Galliano and Karl Lagerfeld have each hosted fashion week celebrations there amidst the beaming gilded decor. On October 24, in honour of the Baignoire watch, Cartier hosted an exclusive gathering at the venue to discover the latest creations from the renowned French luxury jewellery and watch manufacturer, with an intimate performance from Parisian royalty Lou Doillon.
Steeped in the French tradition of luxury craftsmanship, Cartier began humbly as a small luxury shop in 1847, before gradually forging its way to the forefront of luxury – the essence of the label’s early designs remain timeless throughout its storied journey. The Baignoire watch (meaning ‘bathtub’ in French) first arrived in 1973, notable for its oval shape. A mere nine years after the first Baignoire arrived, Lou Doillon was born to French director Jacques Doillon and English actress and singer Jane Birkin. In the summer of this year, Doillon became the face of the iconic watch style, distilling the timeless, multidimensional spirit of the collection.
On the ground floor of Chez Castel, champagne was served as an exclusive number of guests – including Priya Ahluwalia, cktrl (aka Bradley Miller), Maria de La Orden, Sarah Diouf, Blanca Miro, and Alejandro Zwartendijk – tried on the new releases. Matching the rouge, art-decked walls of the venue’s cosy rooms, a red display was constructed at the room’s core which resembled a miniature a theatre, and featured various Baignoire styles throughout the years.
Journeying down the labyrinthine venue’s staircase, the basement was illuminated by Cartier’s elaborate displays fitted into the arched walls, depicting a gleaming Parisian nighttime scene. Cocktails flowed and food was passed – and in walked Lou Doillon, eyes partially obscured by her heavy brunette fringe. Donning a chic pinstripe suit and white vest, she relaxed in the smoking area and played a few tunes on its piano as an intimate crowd watched on. Taking to the stage with just an acoustic guitar, a glass of water and her gold mini Baignoire watch at her wrist, Doillon performed a number of her hit songs as a huddled crowd sang along, swaying to the sounds of her rich, sultry singing voice.
Penetrating lyricism has powered the artist’s work to date despite acting being an early, natural career path for Doillon. “Movies were what my family did,” she had told AnOther previously, but drawing from her family’s rich ancestral artistry, at 25 she first picked up an instrument in the midst of a depression, reinventing herself as music’s new darling of melancholic folk. “For my eighteenth birthday, my mother [Jane Birkin] gave me a Baignoire watch,” Dillion shared. “Cartier, the elegance and chic of the sapphire, the sobriety of the dial, the timelessness of the form.” In this closely guarded ceremony, the star welcomed friends and family in an emotional unification of heritage and a genuine commitment to one’s craft, with celebrations continuing late into the chilly Parisian night.