TIFFANY & CO
For his Tiffany & Co. jewellery debut, Krakoff picked a floral motif to connect Paper Flowers to the brand’s decades-long association with nature. Starting with Louis Comfort Tiffany’s stained glass windows and mosaics depicting bucolic idyll and his art nouveau– inspired jewellery, “the floral motif is something that has been part of every decade (at Tiffany & Co.), so it felt like a good place to start,” Krakoff explains. “In starting with something that’s recognisable as Tiffany, the idea allows you to do something quite different.” (The iris is also a key note of Tiffany & Co. EDP unveiled last September.) Another goal of Paper Flowers
was to play up the contrast between organic and industrial, to introduce opposing ideas and create the tension signature of Krakoff’s designs: A rivet at the centre holds together a trio of artisanally crafted platinum petals to showcase the synergy between these seemingly antithetical concepts. The collection embodies Krakoff’s quest for a fresh approach to wearing jewellery, and to emphasise that diamonds and platinum can be part of one’s everyday ensemble.
To drive home this point, the Paper Flowers presentation was held at the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, within a life-sized recreation of the sterling silver greenhouse from Tiffany & Co. Everyday Objects collection. Both high and fine jewellery were displayed among items from Krakoff’s late-2017 Home & Accessories line-up of quotidian ornaments crafted from sterling silver — flower pots, coffee cans, magnifying glass paperweights, and others — along with quaint reminders of gardening and pastoral landscapes to reinforce the connection between Paper Flowers, nature as well as everyday living.
“I think that’s something that’s part of my DNA and very much part of Tiffany’s DNA: Luxury is meant to be used, so it’s not about putting something in a safe or cupboard,” Krakoff explains, reiterating his philosophy that luxury is independent of formality. “That’s what makes Tiffany high jewellery very different — all pieces are meant to be worn [in regular settings as well as on special occasions]… so that casualness and youthfulness is something really important.”
Bringing these concepts to life is a Believe in Dreams campaign that aired this May. In it, a fresh-faced Elle Fanning admires a Tiffany & Co. window display, like Holly Golightly in 1961. Then, she is whisked away into a phantasmagorical dreamscape bathed in robin’s-egg blue for a dance routine set to a remix of “Moon River” (with a rap by A$AP Ferg). Again, the juxtaposition of contradictory notions is apparent. “You have something quite romantic and nostalgic, and you have a musician who is quite different, and a crazy story with people flying through the air,” Krakoff says. “I have a big appreciation for this kind of crazy, funny, quirky [spectacle], because it’s entertaining and also surprising from Tiffany.” The ad campaign was accompanied by a physical takeover of New York City with skateboarders, coffee carts, cabs, subway stations and bodegas all decked out in Tiffany Blue.
Krakoff would have an appetite for such displays: This three-time CFDA Award winner has been tasked with directing design for Tiffany & Co. jewellery and luxury accessories, and leading the brand’s overarching artistic and design vision with respect to stores, e-commerce, marketing and advertising. Cohesion among all components is critical. “You can’t tell a convincing story if one person is designing jewellery, one person’s doing the advertising, and another person doing the window [displays],” Krakoff says. “Everyone sees everything 24/7 now, so you need to have a clear, crisp, committed message… with each piece building on the next.”
Since joining Tiffany & Co. in February 2017, Krakoff has had a lot on his to-do list. The man credited with sending Coach’s revenue soaring tenfold to US$5 billion was brought in to boost Tiffany & Co.’s fortunes and refresh its image. The brand has gone from reporting a drop in comparable sales last May to posting 7-percent growth in first fiscal quarter same-store sales after 12 months. Krakoff is clearly onto something. Credit has been attributed in part to the witty Home & Accessories collection. And to capitalise on the momentum, the brand launched a jewellery design and innovation workshop in Manhattan in April to speed up the rollout of products.
In swapping Givenchy’s black evening gown for a Tiffany Blue hoodie (which Fanning donned in the ad campaign) and running an uber-instagrammable launch party for Paper Flowers, has the brand distanced itself from longtime fans more accustomed to its image of classic American polish, elegance and modernity? “I think that’s always the question,” Krakoff muses aloud. “The reality is, brands have to evolve, always.”
“There will always be someone who might want something a brand used to do. But my job is to make the future and the new chapter so exciting, that people who may be more [traditional-minded] are excited to take a step forward.”
“Luxury is meant to be used, so it’s not about putting something in a safe or cupboard”
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: TIARA IN PLATINUM WITH DIAMONDS; THE PAPER FLOWERS PRINT CAMPAIGN STARS ELLE FANNING AND A YELLOW DIAMOND FIREFLY PENDANT IN PLATINUM WITH WHITE DIAMONDS; THE COLLECTION WAS INSPIRED BY ABSTRACT PAPER PETALS PINNED BACK TOGETHER