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