Welcome to our new series Survival of the Chicest. Here, we’ll look at the world’s most iconic fashion items, from Chanel pumps to the Breton top, charting their rise to fashion fame and decoding their allure. Ultimately we’ll be investigating what it is that’s made them so popular and and allowed them to stand the test of time. Today we’re looking at the Cartier Love bracelet and how it continues to appear on the arms of every fashion editor, celebrity and influencer.
You might not realise it, thanks to its small size, but you’re never far away from a Cartier Love bracelet. First created nearly 50 years ago, it’s still as popular as ever and holding its place as one of the most sought-after luxury items in the world. In fact, the desire is increasing: According to Google Trends, over the past five years, the term “Cartier Love bracelet” has steadily been building, with its most recent spike happening this past December. So what gives this item its continued success?
As of last September, the analysts at Interbrand ranked Cartier as one of the top labels in the world, with the company’s Love bracelets keeping it relevant to new audiences. What with the likes of Kylie Jenner often spotted wearing a stack of them, it’s easy to see why they remain popular among younger buyers even when the bangle comes with a price tag of £3k and up. But is there more to this iconic piece of jewellery that has given it such perennial popularity? To understand how and why it’s become such a hit, keep scrolling.
When you start delving into the world of the Cartier Love bracelet, you realise it’s surrounded by legend. When originally designed in 1969, it was thought to have been inspired by the chastity belt. To this day, to get it on and off, you have to use a screwdriver. “What modern people want are love symbols that look semipermanent—or at least, require a trick to remove. After all, love symbols should suggest an everlasting quality,” said Cartier’s Aldo Cipullo at the time of its creation. Cartier even created a YouTube tutorial to help the fastening and unfastening process be that little bit easier.
There are other romantic lores that surround the iconic piece of jewellery. When the item was first launched, the brand apparently only sold them to couples (who would gift each other their screwdrivers). Cartier also gifted high-profile couples, such as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and Ali McGraw and Steve McQueen, but the widespread fervour for this one item in modern times was summed up when Vogue reported that NYC hospitals had to keep one of the screwdrivers handy just in case they needed to remove one of the bracelets from a patient.
THE CARTIER CLUB
For everyone from Eva Chen to Kylie Jenner, society girls to businesswomen, and fashion editors to fashion collectors, the Cartier bracelet falls in the same category as the Hermès Birkin, classic Chanel handbag, or Louis Vuitton luggage—regardless of your personal style, you will want this item, while other fashion icons definitely have their tribes (for example, if you’re into Off-White, you’re probably not into Erdem).
“I rarely use the word ‘lust,’ but that is how I feel about this 2 in 1 @cartier love bracelet. How dingy and sad does my single bangle look next to diamondy two toned goodness…”
HOW TO STYLE THE LOVE BRACELET
Now that we’ve told you literally everyone wants to own at least one of these bracelets, you’ll not be able to stop noticing them. From those who love minimal outfits (pictured top right) to the more eclectic mix of patterns (top left), there’s proof that any kind of ensemble will work with the jewellery. Got your credit card—and screwdriver—ready? Shop the Cartier Love bracelet below.