Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Maria Felix

Cartier. One of her most famous piece – a detachable Necklace, La dona de cartier Crocodile, in gold with emeralds and yellow diamonds

María Félix (April 8, 1914 – April 8, 2002) was a Mexican film actress, and one of the icons of the golden era of the Cinema of Mexico. She was more commonly known, particularly in her later years, by the honorific La Doña.

She was born María de los Ángeles Félix Güereña in Álamos, Sonora, Mexico. There is some dispute regarding Miss Félix's date of birth. There is a large (but not unanimous) opinion that she was born on April 8, 1914, which means that she died on her 88th birthday. However, her obituary in The New York Times states that she was born on May 4, 1914, which would have made her 87 at the time of her death on April 8, 2002. Some claim her birth certificate supports the April 8, 1914 birthdate, although no actual evidence (such as a copy of either the birth or the death certificate) has been presented as concrete evidence

Agustín Lara wrote many songs for her, among them the famous María Bonita. It has been recorded by many singers including Plácido Domingo. Other song writers also composed songs for her, like María de Todas las Marías by Juan Gabriel.

Félix was painted by many artists, including Diego Rivera, Leonor Fini, Leonora Carrington, Stanislao Lepri, Bridget Tichenor and Antoine Tzapoff.

In 1949, Diego Rivera painted a portrait of her, which Félix classified as "muy malo" ("really bad"). This portrait; was originally intended to premiere in a retrospective on Rivera's work but Félix did not allow the painting to be displayed, as she never liked it. She did keep it for many years though, until she sold it to Mexican singer Juan Gabriel.

In fashion, Félix was dressed by designers like Christian Dior, Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, and Balenciaga. The House of Hermès (Couture Department) designed extravagant creations just for her. She was a noted collector of fine antiques. She favored important pieces like her famous collection of Second Empire furniture. She was also a jewellery connoisseur and had an extensive jewelry collection, including the 41.37 carat (8.274 g), D-flawless "Ashoka" diamond. In 1968, Félix commissioned a serpent diamond necklace from Cartier Paris. The result was an impressive, completely articulated serpent made out of platinum and white gold and encrusted with 178.21 carats of diamonds. In 1975, she again asked Cartier to create a necklace for her, this time in the shape of two crocodiles. The two crocodile bodies were made of 524.9 grams of gold, one covered with 1,023 fancy yellow diamonds, while the other was adorned with 1,060 circular cut emeralds.

Since Félix's death, these jewellery pieces have been displayed as part of The Art of Cartier Collection in several museums around the world. To pay tribute to the actress, in 2006 Cartier debuted its La Doña de Cartier collection. The La Doña de Cartier watch with reptilian links was created to impress by its wild look. The case of the La Doña de Cartier features a trapezoid shape with asymmetrical profile reminding a crocodile's head. The wristband of the watch resembles the contours of a crocodile in large, bold and gold scales. The La Doña de Cartier Collection also includes jewellery, accessories, and leather handbags.

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