Cartier’s new Grain de Café collection embodies the maison’s proclivity for seeing beauty in the ordinary and crafting it into something precious. The humble coffee bean serves as the unexpected inspiration for the line—its simple form elevated to an intricate motif in gold, adorned with diamonds. Cascading rows of gleaming beans, designed to be mobile in most of the pieces, move gently with the body when worn, catching the light and playfully capturing the sense of living flora.
First launched in 1938, the collection catapulted to popularity in the ’50s when iconic actress and then-newly crowned Princess of Monaco Grace Kelly was often spotted wearing its pieces. Today, the Grain de Café’s modern revival has a new face in Hollywood darling Elle Fanning. Here, the actress opens up about her favourite pieces from the collection, her relationship with Cartier and the meaningful significance that jewellery holds in her life.
Congratulations on your appointment as the face of Grain de Café. What is it about the collection that you connect most deeply to?
I love that the Grain de Café collection is so rich with history and embodies a timeless elegance that will never go out of style. Immortalising the humble coffee bean in gold is also a great reminder to find beauty in the unexpected.
How does the collection resonate with you?
I have always felt nostalgia for the ’50s, even though I wasn’t alive then. The collection encapsulates the beauty of that era while bringing it into the modern world we live in today. When I wear each piece, I feel like I am honouring the past, remaining grounded in the present and hoping for a brighter future.
What are your favourite pieces from the new collection and how do you like to style them?
The pieces can be paired with a ball gown or with a simple white T-shirt. I have worn them with both and they are equally as eye-catching. The collection is extremely versatile. The Grain de Café necklace in yellow gold and white gold is so easy to wear because it has gold in both colours. I like to layer it with my other gold Cartier pieces. The Grain de Café ring is also a perfect conversation starter for any party.
What place does jewellery have in your life?
Each piece of jewellery I own holds a particular memory— some given by loved ones to mark a special occasion, and others passed down from generation to generation. My mother’s wedding ring was also my great-grandmother’s wedding ring. Passing jewellery down in our family is a tradition I hope to uphold. There is a story behind each piece of jewellery that I wear, and I love knowing that I will be adding to that story.
Is there a special piece of jewellery that you hold dear?
On my sweet 16, my mother gave me the rose gold Cartier Juste un Clou bracelet and I have cherished it ever since.
Do you have signature pieces that you always wear or do you change it up depending on how you’re feeling?
I am a very instinctual person, so I change day by day. Right now, I am wearing my gold Cartier Tank watch.
Do you believe in the special meaning of precious stones?
I do, and I am very lucky because my birthstone is a diamond.
Tell us about your relationship with Cartier. When did it start and how has it changed your perspective on jewellery?
All my life, my aunt has had a Cartier Tank watch. As a little girl, I would admire it and try to sneak it on, hoping that one day I would also have one. Cartier is the pillar of class and elegance. Working with the brand has taught me to appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into making each piece, from the design phase to the final product. The love and care that goes into every piece is palpable.
The Grain de Café collection is guided by the past to inform the future. What most excites you about the collection’s trajectory for Cartier?
I love that Cartier is taking inspiration from and honouring their past by bringing those pieces to the modern audience. For the 2023 Met Ball, I was lucky enough to wear a vintage Grain de Café necklace from the 1955 collection. I put it on and my breath was taken away. The coffee beans gleamed, and in return, had me gleaming all night long. I am looking forward to what other collections they decide to reinvent and bring back.
Who are the women you envision wearing this collection?
Women who revere the timeless, but also look forward towards the future.
There is a strong sense of playfulness captured in the Grain de Café campaign film and imagery. What was it like to be a part of it?
We shot the campaign over two days, overlooking the sparkling Croatian sea. I felt like I was living out a dream, dressed as a film star from the past. For the images, we paired the Grain de Café pieces with a white dress similar to the one Grace Kelly wore in To Catch a Thief. We wanted to pay homage while still staying true to me. I particularly loved filming the opening shot of me walking through the door. Alex Prager, our director, lit the scene so beautifully to create the perfect ambience.
The campaign pays tribute to Grace Kelly. Has she been an inspiration to you in your life?
She certainly has. Before many red carpets and film festivals, I think, “What would Grace Kelly do?”
Who are your style icons?
Grace Kelly, Sofia Coppola, Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and Alexa Chung.
Grain de Café takes its inspiration from the humble coffee bean. How do you take your coffee and what role does it play in your daily rituals?
My coffee order is an oat milk latte, but in the Los Angeles summers I’ll get it iced. I don’t need coffee to wake up, but I do love the taste.
You’ve had many opportunities to wear statement pieces of jewellery on the red carpet or at fashion shows. What’s one piece of jewellery advice you have?
You have to be comfortable with what you’re wearing. Many times, it is best to pair a simple dress with the most outstanding piece of jewellery. Jewellery is the final touch to fully transform a look.
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