On March 11, 1888, during a deadly blizzard, known as The White Hurricane, that gripped the city of New York, Charles Lewis Tiffany and his 600 plus employees were open for business at his Tiffany flagship store. Only a single patron visited the store that day to purchase some silver polish. Was the customer a madman for braving the storm or just another devotee who was “crazy about Tiffany’s?”
Thus begins director Matthew Miele’s authorized documentary of the legendary jewelry company, Tiffany & Co. Miele, who also directed Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s, approaches his subject matter as an exploration of the people and events that have shaped Tiffany’s into an iconic brand that captivates its loyal fans.
The film is filled with historical tidbits, such as the origin of the Tiffany blue color that so readily identifies the brand’s highly coveted gift boxes. Charles Tiffany adopted the color in 1853 for his company, after the robin’s egg blue shade became the signature color of the Empress Eugenie of France, who is referred to as the “Grace Kelly of the 19th century.” The Tiffany blue color is now produced by Pantone and is known as Color 1837. The exact formula of the blue hue with green undertones is a closely guarded secret.
Crazy About Tiffany’s features an impressive list of celebrities as well as Tiffany’s executives and associates, who contribute on screen commentary. The actress, Jennifer Tilly, who admits that she has a Tiffany’s obsession, confesses that she has taken roles in less than stellar films to pay off her jewelry bill. Jessica Biel, is shown at an Academy awards jewelry fitting, with her stylist and the Tiffany Design Director, openly gushing about the pieces being offered to her.
Other notable firsts, attributed to Tiffany & Co., include the conception of America’s first mail order catalog in 1845, the Tiffany “Blue Book,” and the creation of the modern engagement ring. Charles Tiffany introduced the diamond ring in the classic Tiffany setting in 1886.
A lengthy portion of the movie is devoted to Audrey Hepburn and her iconic role in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s and there are other clips from films such as Sweet Home Alabama and the television shows Friends and Sex and the City. The pop culture references to the role that Tiffany’s has played in designing sports trophies are also entertaining, but ultimately the film is at its best when it sticks to the historical elements, highlighting Tiffany’s role as a rarefied piece of Americana.
Crazy About Tiffany’s, Opens in select theaters on February 19, 2016
– Rhonda Erb
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