DO­MINIC LON­ER­A­GAN

The Australian - Wish Magazine - - Aia Awards 2014 -

“Rel­e­vance is the most im­por­tant word to me, al­ways. You have to be rel­e­vant,” she says. “The other thing is that Tif­fany is a great house of Amer­i­can de­sign; it has al­ways been the school of taste for Amer­ica, so that has to stay … What you have is such a great, el­e­gant and rich his­tory to work with. It’s not a revo­lu­tion; it’s an evo­lu­tion of it so it is rel­e­vant to the 21st cen­tury. I am the first woman de­sign di­rec­tor. I am talk­ing to women — I am a mum, I work, I travel, I like fash­ion, I like art, I like de­sign — I think most women re­late to that. So that is an evo­lu­tion al­ready in it­self.”

For the Tif­fany T col­lec­tion, Am­fithe­atrof wanted to en­cap­su­late the en­ergy of the most recog­nis­able city on the planet. “To me, Tif­fany and New York are par­al­lel. I don’t look at it as an Amer­i­can brand; I look it as a New York brand,” she says. “And when I first came to New York [from London], I was try­ing to suss out the style … [New York­ers] all have per­fect hair and lot of them wear dresses and they run in and out of cabs … still wear­ing heels. There is this slight ca­su­al­ness but it is still re­ally put to­gether. I was re­ally in­trigued by that.”

To pen­e­trate this New York aes­thetic, Am­fithe­atrof in­dulged in her favourite pas­time — and main source of style in­spi­ra­tion — peo­ple-watch­ing. And of every­day peo­ple, not the celebrity types. “You know that game you played as a kid, [guess­ing] is that per­son a doc­tor? or … com­pletely mak­ing up a nar­ra­tive — I love do­ing that,” she says. “I am at­tracted to peo­ple be­cause they have a very cool en­ergy, a good en­ergy … I think peo­ple who have a cer­tain way about them are so much more el­e­gant and invit­ing than when you are decked out head to toes in God knows what.”

The 20-year de­sign veteran says the Tif­fany T col­lec­tion needed to be in­stantly recog­nis­able as Tif­fany. “The T, to me, seemed the per­fect start­ing point,” she ex­plains. “But, of course, the T is square, it is not a round graphic sym­bol and I love the moder­nity of that.”

Am­fithe­atrof has spent the past four months trav­el­ling the world to talk about Tif­fany T and her vi­sion for the brand. “With the launch of the col­lec­tion, the way it has been re­ceived and the suc­cess it has had so far — it is still early days — it will hope­fully al­low that re­nais­sance [within Tif­fany] to be even stronger,” she says.

But be­fore she popped her head up in pub­lic, Am­fithe­atrof and Lor­ing had fun teas­ing the staff at Tif­fany & Co’s flag­ship store in New York. “We did this big song and dance for all the sales staff. He kept say­ing, ‘Poor Francesca, she has to take over from me’, and I would say ‘Oh, John, you have such big shoes to fill’. We did this whole act ... and ev­ery­one was think­ing ‘What are they do­ing?’ It was re­ally sweet [of him]. John is amaz­ing, he is an in­spi­ra­tion and he has been a huge support and I love show­ing him what we are up to and what we are do­ing. It’s fan­tas­tic; it’s like hav­ing a men­tor.”

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