Cartier recently invited US press to view its new collection of Trinity rings. During a walk-through, executive Pierre Rainero put paid to the suggestion that the jeweller might ever indulge in something like a collaboration.
‘[D]esign is really our statement, so we see no point in working with external designers,’ Rainero told Fashionista. ‘And also what we believe in is the idea of a “maison”... because it’s very symbolic and it means that under the same roof, we combine all the necessary skills to produce jewelry. Meaning not only the designers, but also the atelier... where we have the workers, the craftsmanship.’
Brands have grown to depend on collaborations to generate coverage, buzz, and most important of all, sales. Between H&M’s masstige designer collections, fashion brands’ prestige tie-ups with artists (Louis Vuitton and Richard Prince, Richard Nicoll and Linder Stirling, Acne and Daniel Silver), and designers’ use of partnerships to enter into new product areas (Suno and Warby Parker for glasses, Giles Deacon and... everything), the collabo genre has become a mainstay of the fashion industry.
But is it all starting to look a bit tired? When did the word 'collaboration' start eliciting groans around fashion desks everywhere? Could it have been sometime between Karl Lagerfeld’s collaborations with Diet Coke, Magnum and Orrefors? With storied fashion houses like Hermes and Cartier quietly pursuing small-batch quality without the short-term flash that the ‘collaboration’ badge brings, allowing house designers to do the house’s work may just be the next big trend.