It’s Not Your Mother’s Tiffany Anymore
Under new leadership, how successful will Tiffany’s ‘all in’ rebrand to lure in Millennials and Gen-Z be?
Actress Anya Taylor-Joy is one of Tiffany and Co's new-age brand ambassadors. | CREDIT: SAMI DRASIN
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last nine months, you’ve probably noticed seemingly apparent changes in Tiffany and Co’s branding. In January, luxury conglomerate LVMH, which also houses Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Celine, acquired the 180-year-old+ American jeweler for $15.8 billion, marking the largest luxury acquisition in history.
Since then, the luxury conglomerate has taken massive strides in a complete rebrand process of Tiffany in hopes to draw in younger consumers, which will make up 45% of luxury sales by 2025, according to Business of Fashion. However, as the jeweler rolled out its guerilla marketing efforts, declaring it’s “not your mother’s Tiffany” in July, it sparked polarization among consumers. Long-time shoppers claim to have felt isolated and left behind while some have embraced the label for trying to find its own edge. So the question we all have is: Will it work?
The Millennial Mastermind Leading the Charge
A pivotal member of the team placed at the helm of the legendary jewelry maker is Alexandre Arnault, the 29-year-old son of Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH. Arnault serves as the executive vice president of product and communications, responsible for developing the strategy for and overseeing Tiffany’s rebrand.
Before making the shift to oversee operations at Tiffany, Arnault served as the CEO of Rimowa since 2017 after LVMH acquired the company in 2016. Under his guise, he was responsible for lifting the tired luggage maker out of a slump and the creation of a sought-after product. As the broker of collaborations between the brand and names like Dior, Fendi, Moncler and Supreme, Arnault helped launch the brand back into the mainstream.
LVMH is no stranger to shaking things up at the labels it holds in its portfolio. Whether it’s Matthew Williams’s transformation of Givenchy or Hedi Slimane’s interpretation of Celine, it’s safe to say that if someone is overseeing Tiffany’s turnaround, Arnault is the person to look to.
Celebrity Ambassadors and Modern Collaborations Give a Glimpse of What’s to Come
Throughout the years, Tiffany has housed legendary designers, like famed Halstonette Elsa Perretti, whose bone cuff and bean designs remain relevant to this very day. The jewelry maker has also seen designs from Paloma Picasso, Jean Schlumberger and Aldo Cipullo, who is the visionary behind the Cartier Love collection.
However, Tiffany’s efforts have traditionally been product-centric throughout the years, relying on long-time brand loyalty and the multigenerational aspect of its classic designs being passed down through families as heirlooms. Under its new leadership and strategy aimed at bringing newer, younger customers in, the jewelry maker has begun to rethink how it will bring those fresh faces in. The result is A-list celebrity ambassadors and new high-stakes collaborations.
In June, Tiffany added Tracee Ellis Ross, Anya-Taylor Joy and Eileen Gru to its roster of ambassadors to promote the brand.
However, the real guns were brought out last month when the brand unveiled its latest celebrity ad campaign featuring none other than Beyoncé and Jay-Z. In the shot, the legendary 40-year-old musician is draped in a black Givenchy gown that pays homage to the gown Audrey Hepburn wore from the same fashion house in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” Behind the couple sits Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 painting “Equals Pi,” which showcases the robin’s egg blue that signifies the iconic brand and has never been put on display for the public.
Sitting ever so delicately on Beyoncé’s chest in the ad is the instantly recognizable 128.54 carat Tiffany Diamond, which was mined in 1877. If that wasn’t enough, the Fancy Yellow diamond is also strung on a diamond-filled chain with over 100 carats of diamonds. Knowles is the fourth person to ever wear the diamond, and the first Black woman to do so. Other wearers include Audrey Hepburn for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and Lady Gaga for the Oscars in 2019.
As part of the campaign, Tiffany has also pledged to donate $2 million to HBCUs. For a brand with a history of classism and serving the elite, it looks like the new leadership is attempting to usher in a new era for the brand.
Even more recently, the jeweler has also tapped contemporary artist Daniel Arsham for a high-profile collaboration between the brand and the artist’s namesake Arsham Studio. The 40-year-old artist has already made a prolific name for himself in past collaborations with Porsche, Dior and Hajime Sorayama, to name a few.
In the reveal of the collaboration, the artist showcased his interpretation of the label’s new Knot collection. The bracelet is finished in white gold with pavé diamonds and tsavorite, a green jewel discovered in Kenya that was introduced to the rest of the world by Tiffany in 1974. Housing the bracelet is Arsham’s rendition of the signature Tiffany box, constructed from a chemical-washed bronze that emulates his “Future Relics” aesthetic that he has become so well-known for. To finish it all off, a robin’s egg blue lockbox holds it all in one place. Truly a well-thought-out masterpiece if you ask me.
Ushering in a New Era Without Isolating Long-Time Fans
The biggest challenge Tiffany faces in its massive overhaul is isolating certain segments of its preexisting customer base. After unveiling its “not your mother’s Tiffany” adverts, many long-time loyalists derided the label for overlooking some of the very people that have propped up the brand for years.
To succeed in the reevaluation of its entire marketing strategy, the label will have to continue to bring in those fresh faces that resonate so deeply with Millenials and Gen-Z, as well as introducing new designs that bring an edge but stay true to the tradition of its brand. At the same time, the label will have to innovate to continue to reach and reassure long-time customers that they always have a home in the Tiffany community.
LVMH is no stranger to revamping a jewelry house, which puts the jewelry maker’s chances in optimistic hands. After its success reimagining Bvlgari, it will be exciting to see where this initiative ends up.
Jacob McLean is an Online Writer at Rowdy Magazine. When he's not hunched over his computer, drinking alarming amounts of coffee or searching for new music, you'll probably find him daydreaming about his future life in NYC like every other basic bitch. Find him on Insta at jacobmclean_