TIFFANY & CO: How John A. Tiffany wound up writing a book about his former boss Eleanor Lambert can be traced to his high school days in Santa Barbara. Bored by his speeches, Jeff Reck, one of his teachers, encouraged him to talk about something fashion-related since that’s where his interest lay. Unbeknownst to Tiffany, digging up an article about Lambert’s landmark fashion show at Versailles for a high school public speaking assignment put his career in motion. Years later James LaForce, another Lambert prodigy, tipped off Tiffany that the famed publicist was hiring and before long he was hired as her right-hand man.
The former assistant celebrated his new book “Eleanor Lambert: Still Here” Wednesday night at Lincoln Center with Steven Kolb, Nadja Swarovski, Cece Cord, Amy Chan, Maggie Norris and Kay Unger among others. Tiffany wanted more people to know that Lambert not only established 75-plus designers, but she also started The Coty Awards, March of Dimes fashion shows and runway shows at the 1964 World’s Fair.
Lambert, who died at the age of 100 in 2003, never lost her deftness. Tiffany said that Lambert told potential clients who didn’t measure up, “There may be something there but I just don’t see it” or “You’re not ready for me yet.”
Thankful for how his professional life has panned out, Tiffany made sure his former teacher, whom he hadn’t seen since he was a teenager, joined in on Wednesday’s celebration. “He doesn’t teach kids to test but he teaches kids to think,” Tiffany said.