Reported by Joyce Datiles
We’ve always known we couldn’t get enough of that classic robin’s egg blue. Tiffany & Co. is launching its first collection of handbags in twenty years on Sept. 1 in the U.S., and each piece, be it a satchel, clutch or tote, has an accent or a heavy dose of that famous blue to perfectly match those lovely Tiffany boxes.
In a clever strategy to expand their brand to include handbag collections and leather accessories which complement their existing and impressive product portfolio, Tiffany & Co. have slightly shifted their attention from their other products including the company’s staple and renowned jewelry lines, recognizing a more practical customer’s preference for an upscale handbag over yet another tennis bracelet. The company has also been downsizing on their tableware collections, following the same rationale that life is now more practical and perhaps even more casual than the days before the economic downturn. The world’s second-largest luxury jewelry retailer is now having to trade its china, crystal and even jewelry for leather goods in order to maintain its status after Tiffany sales plunged by double digits within the past two years due to the recession.
In 2009, Tiffany & Co. bought the Lambertson Truex label and their leather brand’s trademark from Samsonite Corp. after the company was driven to bankruptcy and, shortly afterwards, hired this latest leather collection’s designers, Richard Lambertson and John Truex, to embark on Tiffany & Co.’s largest leather collection in history. The company attempted at a small collection of handbags in the 1990s but has never had a full assortment with such a diverse range.
The Tiffany Leather Collection, as promised, will cater to day, weekend and evening needs. The collection is for both men and women, and includes a small reversible tote and a ‘Manhattan’ satchel for women, and a briefcase, card holder as well as a travel wallet and totes for men. All are made with the finest onyx quilted leather, glazed crocodile, calf and/or snakeskin infused with satin and/or suede.
Marie Driscoll, an equity analyst with Standard & Poor’s Equity Research states that in order for Tiffany & Co.’s new endeavor to succeed, “The styles of Tiffany’s leather goods will have to come across as timeless” [Wall Street Journal]. And indeed they are. All the pieces of the new collection have a hint of the classic Tiffany look and design cues from Tiffany’s jewelry ~ Tiffany blue stripes, clasps and rivets on each bag include a bit of the robin’s egg blue and the signet logo, “Tiffany & Co.” on the clasps. Many of the handles and closures on clutches and bracelet bags bear clear resemblance to Tiffany’s trademark ring and bracelet collection design styles and hallmarks or were inspired by diamond necklaces in Tiffany’s archives.
Several celebrities, including Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Biel, have been spotted in July and August carrying the company’s reversible tote and a clutch to Hollywood events so the collection is bound to be a hit if not a sign of the times.
A personal collection favorite [there are A LOT, mind you!] is the $595 “Holly” clutch in a Tiffany blue satin, a reference and tribute to Audrey Hepburn and her iconic character, Holly Golightly, from 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The classics never die, after all.
The Tiffany Leather Collection is available at select Tiffany’s locations in September 2010. For more information, do take a look at tiffany.com.
Pictures provided by Tiffany.com, WSJ, Bloomberg News & New York Times