Everyone knows something about Tiffany’s. From their coveted engagement rings, to the classic movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, to blue boxes with the white satin ribbons – the brand’s iconic designs and quality workmanship have spanned decades and continents. The brand is also associated with its Return to Tiffany’s line, often worn by the ‘it’ girls, the ones who seem to own everything on trend.
Crazy About Tiffany’s
A couple of months ago, we sat down and watched a pre-screening of the documentary, Crazy About Tiffany’s by filmmaker Matthew Miele. The doc debuted at Bloor Hot Docs in Toronto this February. The documentary was well done, focusing on various aspects of Tiffany’s – the history, the clientele, the jewellery makers. Celebrities, filmmakers, and designers, gushed about the classic blue box. Socialites sat in their pristine Manhattan apartments, musing over giving their children the traditional etiquette book published by Tiffany and Co. The cookie-cutter family advertisements, featuring a man, a woman, and their All-American children. At the end of the film, we were left with the lingering question: are we still crazy about Tiffany’s? It all seemed a bit dated.
Changing Culture, and Changing Trends
To get some insight, we met with Duncan Parker, Vice President and Jewellery Specialist, Dupuis Fine Jewellery Auctioneers. Duncan was able to provide knowledge on the industry and the Tiffany’s brand. He explained jewellery trends as they’ve been, and as they’re evolving in the simplest of terms:
“People these days are looking for identifiable brands – and that’s not to say, brands that can be identified by their quality, which Tiffany’s is inherently known for – but by being branded directly on the jewellery itself. This is showcased with the T bracelet Tiffany’s recently released, as it’s essentially a walking advertisement. Brands are very much still important to buyers, but not in the way you think. It’s not: you have it, and it’s fabulous! It’s more: you have it, it’s fabulous, and everyone knows it’s from Tiffany’s.”
This response leads one to believe that, yes, Tiffany’s is still a draw to buyers. It’s both iconic and of superior quality. “Not necessarily,” says Parker. “The days of Breakfast at Tiffany’s are over. Yes, if you walk down any major street in any major city, you will find a Tiffany’s store. But are people really going in and buying these things? It’s hard to say. Tiffany’s does have its entry-level jewellery, such as sterling silver pendants, but that doesn’t mean young people are actually buying these. More often than not, you will see people taking a selfie with the store front, looking in the window, and moving along.” This point did coincide with thoughts expressed by Crazy About Tiffany’s’ director, Matthew Miele, who reflects on the notion that this historic brand could be in trouble if it fails to capture the attention of the millennial generation.
We wondered, how is Tiffany’s adapting to a changing culture? Miele’s film highlights one such event – last year, Tiffany’s released its first ever same-sex advertisement, featuring a real life couple outside their New York City Brownstone. This drew attention from the public, and many publications and broadcasters highlighted the ad, such as: Business Insider, Time, CNN, The Daily Mail, and Huffington Post.
Not the first of its kind, but notable nevertheless, Business Insider noted: “It’s heartwarming to see the brand embracing the LGBTQ community with this progressive statement.”
“Tiffany’s is trying to change their image – as most retailers are,” said Parker. “For the last 30 years, we continue to hear about the first ‘same-sex advertising’ and it’s always a big deal. Gradually people adapt, and jewellery companies generally do not have an easy time tapping into any sort of ‘alternative’ crowd.”
Moreover, Parker noted: “Generally, same sex couples aren’t buying traditional jewellery. Up until this point, traditional jewellery conveys traditional messaging, and it’s a difficult nut to crack when a brand has established a strong traditional image. It’s hard to create something for a different demographic when you don’t know what that demographic wants. That goes for age, gender, sexual preferences… Tiffany’s isn’t more forward or backward than anyone else.”
Rich Clientele, Rich History
While Tiffany’s contributions to future cultural landscapes remain to be seen, we move from the present to the past: Crazy About Tiffany’s highlighted a number of notable historical contributions. Gene Moore’s intricately detailed Tiffany’s Manhattan store windows were delightful to gaze at, and his legacy lives on in shops across the globe.
Tiffany’s has produced numerous odd-ball items that aren’t jewellery, such as various sports trophies, the Grand Central Station clock, and a knife owned by Roosevelt himself.
We were inspired by antique custom jewellery showcasing beautiful emeralds and yellow gold, custom broaches featuring geometric hardware, and fossilized gems so old they’re practically priceless. These speak to the rarity, artistry and elegance of the brand beyond Return to Tiffany.
To return to our original query: are we still crazy about Tiffany’s? They continue to pay attention to cultural changes as well as continue to design unique collections, so – just call us Holly Golightly.
Hayley loves early-2000s emo music and making ‘To Do’ lists. When not writing for Glossi Mag, she can be found discussing the Kardashians with anyone who will listen.