This year marks the beginning of Tiffany & Co’s step back into the limelight. In May, the brand covered New York City in its iconic Tiffany Blue to mark the launch of both its Paper Flowers collection and its Believe in Dreams video advertising campaign, which featured actress and brand ambassador Elle Fanning singing and dancing across The Big Apple.
Many of New York’s iconic yellow cabs turned blue, as did selected subway stations and bodegas, which were also festooned with paper cut flowers. It was both a celebration and a calling card for chief artistic officer Reed Krakoff, who has finally debuted his dream for Tiffany & Co in full 4K resolution.
Krakoff, who is credited with taking fashion brand Coach from drab to a fab US$5b empire, was appointed by Tiffany in January last year to the surprise of many. The American designer, after all, didn’t have formal jewellery design training, and most jewellery brands aren’t in the habit of hiring big-name designers in the way of their fashion counterparts. What Krakoff does have, however, is a keen eye for fine design and a sensitive finger on the pulse of the moment. All of this is evident in Tiffany’s new Paper Flowers collection, and the campaign buzz surrounding it.
Paper Flowers, as its name suggests, is inspired by delicate flower petals cut from paper and carefully pieced together. The overall visual impact of the pieces is feminine and organic, with each petal being uniquely shaped and placed—as though a breeze had ruffled through them. Despite the delicacy, the rivets pinning each petal together still lend a modern industrial touch that juxtaposes nicely against the polished femininity of the floral motif.
The entire collection is constructed in platinum and embellished with diamonds, sapphires and tanzanites. Yellow diamond fireflies add an extra touch of whimsy here and there. Most impressively, the pieces are dainty and dressy, but not fussy in any way. With the new collection, Krakoff wanted to “strip away all of the rules associated with fine jewellery”. He said, “Luxury shouldn’t always mean formality. So we used precious stones and the finest materials, but in a way that you can live with every day.” The collection comprises 30 fine jewellery pieces and 12 high jewellery pieces, with much of the emphasis being placed on the fine jewellery—no surprise considering that the bulk of Tiffany’s business has always been from its wearable hit collections.
Part of stripping away the formality of jewellery comes from Tiffany’s campaigns, which are also under Krakoff’s purview (unlike his predecessors, who were largely product focused). The aforementioned Tiffany takeover of New York, for instance, took the brand to places and people it would never otherwise have had contact with before—bodegas, coffee carts, taxicabs, BMX bikers and skateboarders. There were even MetroCards issued in the iconic Tiffany hue.
The Believe in Dreams campaign featured Fanning reprising Audrey Hepburn’s rendition of Moon River from Breakfast at Tiffany’s (complete with black-and-white cinematography) while looking wistfully at a diamond necklace in a Tiffany store window—until her reverie was interrupted by a Paper Flower firefly that fluttered to life. The scene then burst into a riot of colour and dance, set to the soundtrack of A$AP Ferg rapping over Moon River. It eventually ended with Fanning back at the window—but with a sprightly spring in her step. The message is clear: the Tiffany dream—and jewellery—could be yours, if you wanted it.
Fanning’s character was surprised in the campaign, and the actress herself as well. “Going into the shoot, I knew that there would be dancing, but I didn’t know that there would be singing involved,” said Fanning in an exclusive phone interview with Singapore Tatler.
“They heard me humming on set when we were doing a playback of Moon River, and director Francis Lawrence said ‘why don’t you sing it?’” The ducks all lined up in a neat row, because Fanning had just come off filming Teen Spirit, where she plays a teenage hopeful dreaming of pop stardom, so she had experience singing. Plus, it meant that Fanning had effectively released her own single—the 90sec song is now available to stream on Spotify.
“I had no idea it was going to be on Spotify—like this is a real song,” said Fanning, almost in disbelief. But perhaps this is the nature of dreams coming true; you never quite believe it, even after it happens.
It would presumably be a dream come true for many, should Krakoff’s efforts successfully inject new life into Tiffany. The brand had been flagging for some years before Krakoff and CEO Alessandro Bogliolo were appointed last year. Bogliolo has since indicated that reinvigorating the brand’s product lines will be one of his priorities. The launch of Paper Flowers is significant because it is the brand’s first fine jewellery launch since Tiffany Keys debuted in 2009. Tiffany T and HardWear, while successful, generally feature fewer gems, and are more fashion-driven, so Tiffany classifies them differently from Paper Flowers. Krakoff’s Paper Flowers collection may look fragile and delicate, but the hope for Tiffany & Co’s future is strong.