At first glance, the Cartier gold chainmail capelet Zoe Saldaña wore to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party looked simple, but like most great fashion moments, there’s a beautiful story behind it. 

“It’s such a timeless piece,” Saldaña told Vanity Fair of the one-of-a-kind creation that took two years to bring to life. Consisting of 67,000 chainmail gold links, all connected by hand, 150 diamonds, and several faceted onyx tassels, the statement-making piece is the result of reinterpreting goldwork, volume, and the interplay of contrasts, and was inspired by the French luxury brand’s first female creative director, Jeanne Toussaint. “The usage of yellow gold is emblematic of the Maison, as early as the time of Jeanne Toussaint and more recently with the Paris Nouvelle Vague Collection. Gold feels precious and lavish, be it polished, gadrooned, or braided. It became the field of exploration for Jeanne Toussaint who associated it with new chromatic combinations, such as turquoise and coral,” Cartier explained. 

(L-R): By Julian Ungano. By Alfredo Piola.

More than just the result of Cartier’s exquisite workmanship, Saldaña felt sentimental wearing the piece to celebrate the Oscars. It reminded her of her mother, she said, whom she describes as having a great sense of style as she recounted her wearing her Sergio Valente jeans, Ray-Bans and rocking a pixie cut. “I remember my mom had a top probably from like her ‘70s years, you know. It was kind of like metal assembled together and you sort of just threw it over your torso and you would wear it over a skirt or over jeans. And I remember that I would go into her closet and play with it. And it always felt cold. But the moment you put it on your body with your body heat, the metals would get really warm. And then I remember thinking, God, this feels so good for such hard material, you know? So I had a sense of memory of it Sunday as I tried on the Cartier piece. I just was able to remember that of my childhood,” the Avatar star said.

Cartier design worn by Zoe Saldaña.By Alfredo Piola.

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