As swinging socialite Daisy Buchanan in the 1974 film of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, 29-year-old Mia Farrow looked out of this world. And that was the intent. When the producers approached Cartier about adorning Farrow (and costar Lois Chiles) with custom jewelry, they asked that Daisy’s gems help her appear, literally, unreal.
“Gatsby’s characters are young people with lots and lots of money from wealthy families being very ridiculous,” says longtime Cartier designer Alfred Durante of the film’s Jazz Age bons vivants. “Daisy is very out of touch with reality. They wanted to express that visually. Mia wore lots of white. The sets around her were nearly always smoky or misty-looking. And I did it with the designs.” For Daisy’s party image, that meant matching her signature string of pearls with platinum and diamond pieces that seem space-age by way of period-appropriate Art Deco motifs.
Durante’s challenge: that halo-like, bugle-beaded cloche hat. “Button earrings would have gotten lost,” he remembers. “What I had to do was give the look of an extension of the hat. So I created long drop earrings of pavé diamond balls with a large pavé ball at the end. Daisy looked almost ethereal, mystical. She wasn’t an actual woman. She was a mystery.”