The Bold New Tiffany Leather Collection
by laurie brookins
The Pre-Spring 2012 Tiffany Leather Collection features a bright, bold palette of colors
|John Truex and Richard Lambertson with the Tiffany Leather Collection|
|Opera gloves in the Tiffany Leather Collection, including a pair in the jeweler’s iconic Tiffany Blue|
|Morgan clutch in camel satin with a kiss-lock closure in tiger’s-eye beads|
Classic with a twist of modernity—that’s how John Truex describes the Tiffany Leather Collection. “We want to create bags that carry themselves from season to season. None of these pieces should ever feel dated,” says Truex, who conceives and creates the collection with co-design director Richard Lambertson. “After carrying one for a while, a woman might put it in her closet, but then she’ll have the pleasure of rediscovering it.”
Indeed, it’s difficult to view the Fall/Winter 2011 Tiffany Leather Collection (available locally at Tiffany & Co.’s Bal Harbour Shops outpost) and not discover something, or 12 things, that you feel you must simply own. Start with the day styles, from the Beatrice top-handle bag in light-walnut, garment-glazed crocodile, to the Tiffany Avenue Shopper in camel leopard haircalf, trimmed in leather toned to the jewelry house’s iconic Tiffany Blue, and you’ll find a statement of timeless luxe quickly and clearly pronounced. An abundance of choices likewise exists to carry you through a night on South Beach, such as the Morgan clutch in camel satin with a kiss-lock closure of tiger’s-eye beads, or the Bracelet bag in quilted velvet with the bold handle that inspires its name. “We do have a little something for every moment,” Truex adds.
We’re standing in the leather collection’s showroom on the mezzanine of Tiffany & Co.’s Fifth Avenue flagship in New York, and it’s in viewing this almost-complete look at Fall/ Winter 2011 (“Several bags are out for editorials,” a PR person explains) that you realize the comprehensive world created by Lambertson and Truex, who owned an eponymous label before signing on as co-design directors for Tiffany & Co. in 2009. This is no mere capsule collection or perfunctory statement, a few bags off to the side to fill out a house’s offerings. From the moment they joined Tiffany & Co., Truex says, they were given carte blanche to conjure up an all-encompassing category—not only handbags, but also silk scarves, wallets, gloves, leather gift items, and men’s accessories. There are roughly 200 pieces in total, once all colors and skins are counted, all of which enjoy equal footing among the diamond engagement rings or other design-driven collections by Paloma Picasso, Elsa Peretti, and Frank Gehry. “From the moment I walked through the doors, it really has been a dream come true,” says Truex (Lambertson, on this particular day, is in Milan, where many of the pieces are produced). “To be in the same house, under the same roof, as some of the most iconic design statements ever created—what’s not to love?”
While he believes leather pieces rarely will be directly inspired by a piece of jewelry, Truex acknowledges there is no shortage of ideas. A sneak preview of the Pre-Spring collection—Tiffany & Co.’s Bal Harbour boutique is one of only four locations in the US to carry the season—reveals a luscious array of colors such as iris and tangerine. And then, of course, there is that Tiffany Blue, employed as the shade of every bag’s lining and also used as the standout color of a few bags themselves. “From the first moment, we knew we were going to use this very iconic color and thought, What are we going to do with this?” Truex remembers. “There was a lot of conversation about being respectful. But in the end, we just decided to have fun with it.” Bal Harbour Shops, 9700 Collins Ave., 305-864-1801
photograph by david hamsley (opener); kevin allen (truex)
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.