Ex­plor­ing Tiffany & Co.’s en­dur­ing rep­u­ta­tion in pop cul­ture

Villa 88 - - Contents -

AS ONE OF THE WORLD’S old­est jew­elry houses, Tiffany & Co has grown from their 1837 begin­nings as an Amer­i­can fancy goods re­tailer into a modern-day cul­tural icon. The el­e­gant façade of their New York flag­ship store, Au­drey Hep­burn’s coiffed Holly Go­lightly in the 1961 film Break­fast at Tiffany’s, and the ro­man­tic sym­bol­ism of the Tiffany Blue Box are just a few of the clas­sic im­ages syn­ony­mous with the lux­ury jew­elry com­pany to­day.

New York holds a spe­cial place in the hearts of many a Tiffany fan, with the house in­ex­tri­ca­bly linked to the city’s me­te­oric rise as an in­ter­na­tional cap­i­tal of glamor and so­phis­ti­ca­tion. In 1940, the com­pany es­tab­lished their flag­ship store at 727 Fifth Av­enue, whose main floor has ap­peared in many movies, from 1993’s Sleep­less in Seat­tle to 2002’s Sweet Home Alabama.

Ev­ery win­ter, the flag­ship cer­e­mo­ni­ously un­veils its an­nual hol­i­day win­dows dis­play at its cor­ner of Fifth Av­enue and 57th Street, a nod to the “Gilded Age” of the house’s early days, when the jew­ellers of­fered their wares to the in­dus­trial fam­i­lies that com­prised the coun­try’s first wealthy class. Nowa­days, these win­dows have taken on a ubiq­ui­tous na­ture, re­vealed at Tiffany bou­tiques across the world from Hong Kong to Dubai, slightly adapted for each and yet los­ing none of their orig­i­nal all-amer­i­can charm.

Tiffany has long em­braced ven­tures abroad. Since the 19th cen­tury, they have pi­o­neered the dis­cov­ery and use of many of to­day’s gem­stones; when a new vi­o­let-blue stone was un­earthed in 1967 in Tan­za­nia, for in­stance, Tiffany named it Tan­zan­ite af­ter its coun­try of ori­gin and in­tro­duced it to the world. The gem­stone re­mains highly pop­u­lar over 50 years later, most re­cently ap­pear­ing as col­ored petals and buds in their 2018 Pa­per Flow­ers col­lec­tion.

It is the di­a­mond, how­ever, that holds the most ro­man­tic mean­ing within Tiffany’s gem­stone reper­toire. From the his­tor­i­cal 128-carat Tiffany Yel­low to the patented Lu­cida and Novo di­a­mond cuts, the jew­elry house is syn­ony­mous with en­gage­ment rings and di­a­mond ex­per­tise.

A spe­cial­ized ring set­ting for the gem was even de­vel­oped in 1886, with the Tiffany Set­ting’s six-pronged tech­nique of lift­ing the stone above the band al­low­ing light to en­ter the stone and max­i­mize the di­a­mond’s beauty and sparkle.

Once a pur­chase is made, it’s time for the sig­na­ture Tiffany Blue Box to make its en­trance. Since Charles Lewis Tiffany first se­lected the color for the house’s an­nual Blue Book cover in 1845, this robin’s egg blue has adorned ev­ery­thing from the com­pany’s shop­ping bags to ad­ver­tis­ing and pro­mo­tional ma­te­rial. Pos­si­bly se­lected due to turquoise’s pop­u­lar­ity in the Vic­to­rian era, the color’s as­so­ci­a­tion with

Tiffany & Co. is to­day an in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized sym­bol of in­dul­gence.

With such deeply en­grained cus­tomer con­no­ta­tions, it’s fair to won­der how the house will adapt and ap­peal to to­day’s younger, de­mand­ing mar­ket. Since Reed Krakoff was ap­pointed Tiffany’s Chief Artis­tic Of­fi­cer in Feb­ru­ary 2017, his fo­cus has been on re-in­vig­o­rat­ing some of these long­stand­ing tra­di­tions to achieve ex­actly that.

His 360-de­gree vi­sion of “ev­ery­day lux­ury” cov­ers ev­ery­thing from store lay­outs to lux­ury ac­ces­sories and ad­ver­tis­ing, as well as di­rect­ing de­sign for Tiffany’s jew­elry col­lec­tions. Pa­per Flow­ers is his first for the house, launched by the “Be­lieve in Dreams” cam­paign video fea­tur­ing Elle Fan­ning and hip hop artist A$AP Ferg’s con­tem­po­rary ren­di­tion of Moon River, which orig­i­nally ap­peared in the film Break­fast At Tiffany’s.

Mark­ing the first time that Tiffany & Co. has cre­ated a song, Reed re­ferred to the cam­paign as “a fresh ap­proach, jux­ta­pos­ing some­thing vis­ually ex­tra­or­di­nary with a song that is a nos­tal­gic nod to the past.” The video fol­lows this style, with Elle Fan­ning first ap­pear­ing in black and white peer­ing into the Fifth Av­enue win­dows as an ode to the 1961 film’s open­ing scene, be­fore break­ing out in a rhyth­mic color street dance against a back­drop of New York’s iconic streets and Brook­lyn Bridge.

With over 180 years of his­tory, it’s no small feat for a jew­elry house to have achieved such multi-gen­er­a­tional sta­tus, and such cul­tural sym­bols will no doubt con­tinue play­ing a prom­i­nent role in Tiffany’s brand iden­tity. Up­dated cam­paigns and fresh col­lec­tions may well drive new buy­ers through the doors, but, ul­ti­mately, many will prob­a­bly still an­tic­i­pate that de­lec­ta­ble di­a­mond peek­ing out of its Tiffany Blue Box. Tiffany & Co. is now open at The Gal­le­ria on Al Maryah Is­land

Tiffany is a glob­ally rec­og­nized sym­bol of in­dul­gence

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