Originating in 1837, Charles Lewis Tiffany’s jewellery store, popularised by the iconic film starring the Givenchy-clad Audrey Hepburn, has long been the go-to treasure trove for Hollywood stylists and the very, very wealthy (did I mention wealthy?). Millions of window shoppers from all over the world visit the company’s Fifth Avenue flagship store (home since 1940) to gawp at the sparkly delights on offer, affordable to pretty much nobody.
Matthew Miele’s documentary is a mixed bag. It’s history lesson meets gush-fest meets introduction to the jeweller’s creative machine: Design Director Francesca Amfitheatrof (the first woman in the role), the scarily precise technicians, and those on the shop floor who sneakily try on diamonds when nobody is watching.
The late Gene Moore’s extraordinary window displays in the ‘50s drew attention not for overdone detail but the intentional lack of and cutting edge juxtaposition, and it is extraordinary to learn just how much influence Tiffany’s has had outside of its stores’ four walls and to see the designers that have come and gone and inspired a new generation.
It’s all typically flashy, with the privileged and their children expressing delight and a tremendous amount of precocious knowledge of the brand. The staff, on hand to offer rich, genuine passion about the products they are selling think little of advertising three rings for every occasion worth $2.5 million. They think nothing of it because it all sells to someone, easily.
It’s difficult not to feel sickened by much of Crazy About Tiffany’s. Watching Jessica Biel casually sipping a coffee whilst dressed head to toe in Chanel and the most insane jewels reeks. It just reeks. The bombastic characters are not swell to watch and only add to the notion that Tiffany’s is elitist and archaic, rather than belonging to an era when ‘true’ love and marriage was all, and most notably women, aspired to.
Miele’s documentary itself is not so severe as to create negative attitudes towards Tiffany’s by itself. It knows what it depicts is unattainable but really, it doesn’t care. Just like the Balenciaga and Dior that gloriously coat the glossy pages of Vogue magazine, this is – as much as movies claim it isn’t – a very beautiful and completely fantastical world.
A highly stirring watch, Crazy About Tiffany’s is beautiful and lovingly informative with some great talking heads, including the bananas stylist Rachel Zoe. Contrastingly it can be tiring and hard to relate to those on screen with some incredibly warped priorities. But hey, it’s not called May As Well Do with Tiffany’s.
Words by Samuel Sims