Tiffany & Co.’s failed approach to novelty signals desperation, not exclusivity.
Since he was named Executive VP of product and communications at Tiffany & Co. in February 2021, Alexandre Arnault, son of luxury tycoon and LVMH Chairman Bernard Arnault, has completely reimagined the heritage American jewelry brand.
From recruiting Beyoncé and Jay Z for the breakout “About Love” campaign, to introducing wholly new product lines like the Tiffany Lock, designed to rival the iconic Cartier Love bracelet, Arnault has attempted to boost Tiffany’s relevance in order to broaden its consumer base. However, his recent slew of collaborations—usually with other LVMH brands—have fallen flat.Supreme x Tiffany jewelry to the Tiffany x Nike sneaker and accessories line, Arnault’s attempt at novelty has resulted in priced-out limited edition pieces that alienate rather than invite/inspire consumers.
Supreme x Tiffany & Co., the first collab orchestrated by Arnault, brought two unlikely brands together for an artistically off-putting campaign whose designs inarguably cheapened the iconoclastic “Return to Tiffany” product line. From the iconic lock necklace to heart-shaped studs and even key rings, Supreme slapped its logo where Tiffany’s once was, creating a confusing line of sterling silver jewelry that looked more like a mistake than a line of limited edition pieces.
Since their launch, items from the exclusive drop have flooded secondary shopping sites. While the original retail prices for the star bracelet, oval pendant, and key ring were $450, $300, and $525, respectively, their value has appreciated little despite their limited edition nature. On eBay, those same bracelets, pendants, and key rings are selling for $600, $250, and $500, respectively. Thus, despite their rarity, pieces from the Tiffany x Supreme collection have largely failed to maintain their value over time, resulting in an overhyped campaign with an underwhelming consumer response.
Soon after, Arnault announced the drop of a limited edition run of the infamous Patek Philippe 5711 watch—with a Tiffany blue dial and double stamping—to celebrate 170 years of partnership between the two brands. Relatively unexciting apart from its label and Tiffany blue face, the watch retails for more than $3.2 million. While undeniably rare and undoubtedly a novelty, the excitement over the watch’s drop was marred by its price point. Even for watch enthusiasts, a multi-million dollar watch isn’t aspirational—it’s impossible.
In the Spring of 2022, while not an official collab, Arnault posed in front of a Tiffany blue Mercedes Maybach SUV, with the caption: “Borrowed my friend’s Tiffany wagon to pick my wife and [dog emoji] up from JFK.” Seemingly another attempt to boost the jeweler’s exclusivity by forcing it into a higher echelon of luxury, Arnault’s post did little to boost Tiffany’s brand appeal, instead coming off tacky and insincere.
Later in 2022, the brand announced a collaboration with Fendi, another LVMH brand, launching a limited edition capsule of Fendi baguette bags in the iconic Tiffany blue with “Return to Tiffany” hardware and charms. Priced at $5,500, the Tiffany baguettes cost nearly $2,000 more than the standard Fendi baguette. Unfortunately for Arnault, consumers were unamused. Not only did the drop not sell out at its launch on January 9th—the typical mark of success for limited edition collections—but nearly a month later, the bags are still for sale on fendi.com, demonstrating consumers’ tepid, if not wholly indifferent response to the bags’ release.
Finally, in its most recent coup, Arnault announced the drop of Tiffany x Nike, a limited edition line that includes $400 Nike Air Force 1 Lows, as well as a sterling silver sneaker brush, shoe horn, lace plates, and a whistle. Random in its product assortment and lacking in creativity, Tiffany’s most recent collab is its most blatant attempt yet to cultivate exclusivity through baseless hype around products devoid of legitimate value and creativity. The shoe, a simple black suede Air Force 1 Low sneaker with a Tiffany blue swoosh down the side, leaves much to be desired, as do the extraneous silver accoutrements that can only be described as frivolous.
Ultimately, while Alexandre Arnault’s Tiffany rebrand has been largely successful—expanding and modernizing the heritage jeweler’s product line, boosting its celebrity appeal, and fettering/phasing out its trinket jewelry in favor of a renewed focus on fine jewelry—its superfluous collaborations are hurting the brand, not helping it. By slapping a Tiffany logo on everything from basketballs to purses, Arnault has effectively cheapened the brand name while simultaneously pushing products that price out the majority of consumers.
It’s time for Tiffany to realize that the ultimate mark of exclusivity isn’t clout, it’s luxury—understated, timeless, and unquestionably exquisite.