A Review of Windows at Tiffany & Co

It’s Christmas time in the city and that means Christmas windows are up! Some of the most well-known windows in the jewelry industry are Tiffany & Co window displays. The iconic scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s was the start of the movie when Holly Golightly gets out of the cab in front of Tiffany’s New York City boutique window takes out a croissant staring at the jewels. Only in the movies, I have passed by Tiffany’s on numerous occasions and can barely get a clear photo with all the people walking by let alone, sit in front of the window and have a snack! Yesterday was a different experience. I went in not to browse but to buy something! I recently went through a job loss, so I couldn’t splurge on any jewels, but I did purchase a book. Windows at Tiffany & Co. has been published by Assouline and can be purchased online on in their flagship NYC store, which is where I purchased mine. In this post I will share my thoughts on the book, the Tiffany windows and my experience purchasing my first Tiffany blue box!

Window displays have interested me for as long as I can remember, it has only been since I started as a business analyst over 5 years ago that I see the incredible impact and reach a window display can have. The book is a small book, around 9 x 6.5 inches with 80 pages. The images are nice, several of them I remember seeing. There is a short history about the windows at Tiffany, starting with Charles Lewis Tiffany and his understanding that people wanted to be entertained. The book clearly states the purpose of the Tiffany windows to set a stage and allow the public to dream about the treasure and possibility the world holds. I agree with that but also would add that it should try and pull people into the store to try and own a little piece of that dream. Finding a balance between fantasy and function is not easy. Window displays are a great marketing tool to encourage impulse purchases and make your store a destination. That was the plan for Charles Lewis Tiffany in the Windows at Tiffany book there is a reference to a Tiffany window in an 1800s novel describing the “windows at Tiffany being ‘on fire with diamonds’”. What a sight that would have been!

Tiffany has been known to have some great window displays and the book credits Gene Moore with many of those. Moore took over as creative director in 1955 and retired in 1994. An obituary by the New York Times goes into more details about his accomplishments. Growing up in a small city from Illinois I did not pass by Tiffany windows in my youth. I only know some of the recent windows. One of my favorites was from 2015 it was a simple design around a reindeer theme. I remember coming up to the NYC Tiffany window and seeing a majestic white reindeer draped in Tiffany diamonds and nearby was a Schlumberger bird brooch and in another window a sleigh with jewelry. Pardon my photos was still getting use to taking photos with my camera.

 

 

The next year had more opulent windows but still showed off plenty of jewelry! My favorite was the dinner scene, but the tree was a close second! These are from the Boston Tiffany window.

This year’s Tiffany windows won’t be knocking my choices lower on the list. The theme is around Believe in Dreams. I recently saw the commercial with Zoe Kravitz. It is embedded below if you would like to watch.

 

It is definitely an edgier Tiffany with the ‘Dream On’ song playing and some fantasy references like the Alice in Wonderland themed tea party for some of the frames. The windows did not really translate that dreaming theme to me.  It really came across as more new age techie. I feel like Tiffany windows were trying too hard to be modern and appeal to the social media crowd. The photos were taken on Monday by me are below.

A mention of social media is in the book about how different the window function is today from windows past due to this change in technology. If that is the case, then the Tiffany windows may need to try and design around that theme. I’d like to see a display that shows people in the store using social media, taking photos and sharing with the public. I didn’t take any photos of the jewelry inside. Some places are still restrictive on photos inside due to insurance reasons and with being short on time I headed up to get my book.

I went to the 4th floor with Home and Accessories. The associate was very friendly. The book was on display and once I mentioned this was the item I wanted he went back to get a copy. I was served some water from a Tiffany blue paper cup (which I kept) while I waited for the transaction to finish. My book came in a blue box and I was out in a matter of minutes. With the holiday rush I was glad. I did stop to look at a display on the ground floor. Tiffany jewelers working in front of the potential customers.

Right before the elevators there is a closed off area that you can see through where these artisans are working on jewelry/gifts. I thought this was nice to see. I wish the windows would convey more of the craftsmanship than this trying to be cool theme. Tiffany like many other brands is trying to change their message to appeal to millennials, when Tiffany needs to hold on to their aspirational message.   There are many jewelry items I want to own but not to be ‘cool’ or fit in but to show I have achieved something or mark a memory; those things take time.

You might be seeing this messaging too or are thinking about your own brand’s identity. If you are looking for some input send me an email at: data.inthe.rough@gmail.com for a consulting session. If you have seen the Tiffany windows or commercial and agree/disagree with my analysis, please let me know in the comments. And if you are interested in purchasing the Windows at Tiffany & Co. book the link is here. Please come back soon for updates and analysis on the auctions, there were some great pieces that I saw and one piece that is back on the block that I plan to feature once the results are in! Thank you for reading Data in the Rough!

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