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Holly Golightly would have been pleased to be in downtown New York on Wednesday, as Tiffany & Co. held a breakfast to herald its new store at 37 Wall Street.
Tiffany chairman and chief executive officer Michael J. Kowalski rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, which was decorated with Tiffany-blue banners, shopping bags and cookies. Street musicians played “Moon River” throughout the Financial District and models wearing custom-designed Tiffany-blue Angel Sanchez dresses and impressive diamond jewelry from the brand strolled the neighborhood before a ceremony and breakfast at the store.
“We’ve come at a time where downtown Manhattan has become a multidimensional community,” Kowalski said.
Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and lauded the company’s heritage and quality. Doctoroff said the population of Lower Manhattan will go from having 22,000 in 2001 to 70,000 by 2011.
“It’s a memorable day to be opening a new store,” said Beth O. Canavan, executive vice president of Tiffany & Co. “We’ve come full circle. We’ve been on the stock exchange for 20 years and we had our start in 1837 downtown.”
Tiffany, along with Hermès, is helping pave the way for other luxury brands to open stores in the Financial District. The Real Estate Board of New York bestowed the Hermès Deal of the Year award for the retail deal that most significantly benefits Manhattan. Hermès opened in June, and Canali and Thomas Pink also are opening stores in the area.
Yabu Pushelberg designed the traditional-meets-modern, 11,000-square-foot store. The building was built in the Beaux Arts style in 1907 and the original facade, ceilings, marble walls and other details have been restored according to State Historic Preservation Office guidelines.
Men’s collections, fine jewelry and one-of-a-kind statement jewelry are offered on the first floor, along with designer jewelry by the likes of Elsa Peretti and Frank Gehry. Watches are also sold on the main floor. A discreet nook offers engagement rings behind a sweeping modern marble and metal staircase.
The main floor — with ceilings 35 feet high, 10 feet taller than the company’s flagship at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street — is divided by several 12-foot glass screens lit from beneath with LED lights.
The back wall behind the staircase contains panels that are faceted like diamonds and is inlaid with display cases.
“Everything in this store is about the reflection and refraction of a diamond,” said Phil Bottega, vice president of real estate services for the company.
The mezzanine level brings the customer closer to the original elaborate mouldings and marble balustrade. Sterling silver jewelry, the home collection and additional designer jewelry are displayed on that level. There is also a well-appointed private selling room with furniture made from Macassar ebony, sycamore and Pau Ferro wood. Lighting designer Ingo Maurer created a floating sculpture of screens dripping with crystals that add a lightness and modernity to the space.
But New York’s Wall Street isn’t the only locale getting a Tiffany injection. The jeweler also has unveiled plans for a new design of the Ginza building, where its Tokyo flagship is located. The company acquired the building in 2003. Architect Kengo Kuma has designed a composition of honeycomb glass panels that will be mounted on the building to appear like the facets of a diamond. The three-story store will have a two-tier atrium entrance and will have a permanent installation area for showing rare works from the company archives.
The Ginza store will offer the widest selection of Tiffany designs in Japan, including engagement and designer jewelry and gifts. The store will be completed in November 2008, but will be open throughout a period of renovation.
The company also unveiled a redesigned Web site this week that it claims is easier to navigate.