Tiffany & Co might most often be associated with Audrey Hepburn and its white ribboned, turquoise blue box, but some lesser-known aspects of its legacy include the fact that the house never discontinues any of its designs, and that its legendary shop windows were largely created by one man: Gene Moore.
These two facets seamlessly come together in Tiffany’s latest project: a kismet-tinged collaboration with Dover Street Market to bring a collection of forgotten jewellery and gift designs back into the spotlight. The 18-strong ‘Out of Retirement’ collection will be showcased exclusively at Dover Street Market’s New York, London and Tokyo locations, successively unveiled over the next week, in an array of specially designed displays inspired by the pioneering Moore.
Gene Moore was the visionary behind Tiffany & Co’s iconic Fifth Avenue window displays from 1955 to 1994. In those 39 years, his artistic approach manifested itself in the fantastical, miniature worlds that lived behind glass.
‘His aesthetic was very simple and had a witty and theatrical basis, which was striking back in the ‘50s when he started working for Tiffany,’ says Richard Moore, the company’s current vice-president of creative and visual merchandising, and simply shares a name with the older Moore. ’He was a pivotal figure in changing how windows appeared. Previously there would be a mannequin or a neck form with a beautiful necklace on it, but he really did away with all of that and brought in this sense of theatre and narrative, which was very fresh and new at the time. The industry over really responds to that now and it has become the norm. He was a really influential figure.’
For the New York installation which debuts this week, Richard and his team latched on to the idea of poseable figures – a recurring feature of Gene’s work. Arranged in classic New York City vignettes, with backdrops sculptured from thin black wire, the installation casts Gene’s iconic approach in a modern light. The London display, which will be revealed on Tuesday, hones in on Gene’s equally strong affection for cast hands, while Tokyo’s (which will be uncovered on 18 November) will place Tiffany’s pieces amongst Nymphenburg’s menagerie of porcelain animals, just as it was done back in the 1960s.
It helps that the quirky, and surprisingly current, ‘Out of Retirement’ collection lends itself easily to the surrealist installations. From the ‘$’ (1942) or 'Money' (1955) money clips; 1992’s Chinese Food Container pillbox or 2000’s sterling silver Party Horn, it’s hard to believe that these pieces weren’t especially designed for the Dover Street Market clientele. Swapping out Tiffany’s white ribbon for a jet black one is the collaboration’s equally inspired final flourish.