When we were brainstorming on the “Design Diary” concept, our intention was to bring the best of the design to tabloid! Aware that our core focus would be the world of interiors, I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist a story that might not be interiors per se but would shine the spotlight on the wider disciplines of design. The recently unveiled Tiffany T collection presented the perfect opportunity.
Tiffany’s latest collection is important for many reasons. First, it marks the debut of noted jewellery, fragrance and furniture designer Francesca Amfitheatrof as label’s newly appointed design director. Second, with Tiffany T the haute jeweller synonymous with Fifth Avenue pays homage to the spirit of New York.
“I made my first piece when I was 15. When I was at school, one day my teacher brought a jeweller in to speak to our class and I was completely fascinated,” she told me during the interview. Over the course of her 20-year career, the trained jeweller, silversmith and a recipient of the master’s degree from the Royal College of Art in London has designed jewellery collections for Chanel, Fendi and Alice Temperley; jewellery and accessories for Marni; jewellery and silverware for Asprey & Garrard; and a men’s collection for Kauffman Stanley in Switzerland.
With Tiffany & Co’s 177-year legacy now in her hands, Amfitheatrof draws from the intangible worth of Holly Golightly’s city — power and energy — capturing it all into a strong, graphic “T”. “I wanted to create a symbol for modern life and its relentless energy that flows through New York and drives art and culture around the world. The letter ‘T’ is sculptural and bold, and very closely linked to the architecture of the city,” says Amfitheatrof. The form of the letter “T” went beyond style as it transformed into a piece of fashion engineering, evident in the mechanism of the bracelets, chains and cuff featured in the collection. “I’m obsessed with form and function and it seems to me that because metal is so malleable and changeable, you can do anything with it.”
Inspired by the 1940s bracelets from the archives, Amfitheatrof explored the sheer lightness of Tiffany designs, infusing them with the new spirit. Showcasing what makes them invaluable assets to the label, Tiffany artisans brought the subtle play of angles and curves of Amfitheatrof’s design to life in 18 karat gold — rose, yellow and white — and sterling silver. Building on the collection’s architectural quality and befitting the design concept, stone setters lend the twinkle of the finest diamonds and glowing gems to the collection, tipping their hats to New York City’s gleaming night sky.
Supporting the local community and nurturing young fashion talent is in Tiffany & Co’s DNA. “We are guided by the belief that a successful company has a responsibility to support organisations and engage with institutions in the cities in which we operate in,” says Amfitheatrof.
To launch the Tiffany T with a showcase at RIRA Gallery in Dubai, Amfitheatrof used the opportunity to further Tiffany & Co’s ethos and launched a design competition, in partnership with a fashion glossy, for fashion students. The participants were asked to create a collection inspired by Tiffany T. A visiting lecturer at her alma mater Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins in London, she and fellow judges guided the shortlisted semi-finalists through a design workshop.
“This competition allows students to put their learnings into practice with the mentorship of seasoned fashion and design professionals,” says Amfitheatrof. “Initiatives such as these have the potential to launch careers.” The winner will be announced in October at Tiffany’s annual Blue Book Gala.
Tiffant T is available at all Tiffany & Co boutiques across the UAE.
The design blog Design Carrot, which is edited by Pratyush Sarup, is under an image overhaul and will be back on September 24; designcarrot.co