You know the scene: Audrey Hepburn, playing the role of Holly Golightly, gazing into the Tiffany & Co. flagship store window on Fifth Avenue, in Capote’s 1961 film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. With a cup of coffee in one hand and a croissant in the other, she has one thing on her mind. Diamonds.
Fast forward to current day—and reality—and a good store window still has the power to ignite wonder. That’s the goal of Tiffany & Co.’s latest project. The brand has collaborated with five artists, Carrie Moyer, Harold Mendez, Ajay Kurian, Raúl de Nieves and Shara Hughes, to create window displays coinciding with their sponsorship of this year’s Whitney Biennial, the longest running survey of contemporary art in the United States. One hundred percent of proceeds from the collaboration will benefit the museum.
To celebrate the unveiling of the windows and kick off the Whitney Biennial (which runs from March 17 to June 11), Tiffany & Co.’s recently-appointed chief artistic officer and fashion veteran Reed Krakoff hosted a cocktail reception on March 9 with Adam D. Weinberg, Alice Pratt Brown director of the Whitney. The first thing seen walking into Tiffany & Co.’s Fifth Avenue store is an unmissable paint splatter design in the brand’s signature blue color, with the words “Tiffany x Whitney Biennial” splashed across the front of the building.
Curators Mia Locks and Christopher Y. Lew handpicked the five artists who worked closely with Tiffany artisans and craftsmen to bring their ideas to life. “This project is really about each artist designing a piece of product, but also stepping outside of that and creating an installation with all the mediums they work with,” Richard Moore, Tiffany & Co. vice president of creative visual merchandising, told AVENUE. “Jewelry is a hard category to show, being that it is small, expensive, has to be locked away and perfectly lit. We often joke that one of the ways you know if you have created a successful window, is when there are nose smudges on the glass from people looking in. So if we have to clean them every hour, we’ve done our job.”
Inside, on the fifth floor, DJ Mia Moretti spun upbeat classic tunes while guests mingled and viewed jewelry and objects on display.
“I think the interesting part of this collaboration is seeing a very iconic American brand reenvisioned by different people,” said Moyer. “They allowed us to be very experimental.” Throughout history, Tiffany & Co. has worked with a number of artists, including Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, who were commissioned by legendary window designer Gene Moore. To continue their support of the arts, the brand will also sponsor the Whitney Biennial in 2019 and 2021.
As for the windows? We think Holly Golightly would have approved.