Blue blood: Tiffany & Co partners with Grace Coddington for autumn 2016 campaign
‘Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching. Because whatever you see can inspire you.” So said Grace Coddington, former model and creative director-at-large of American Vogue, during the 2009 behind-the-scenes documentary The September Issue.
Coddington has spent the best part of 50 years “keeping her eyes open”, with 28 of those dedicated to creating some of American Vogue’s most memorable photo spreads – from Seeing Spots, a black-and-white shoot from 1990 that features a young Naomi Campbell accompanied by Dalmatians, to the beautiful 1920s-inspired spread starring Coco Rocha that also features in The September Issue.
Coddington is rightly regarded as one of the most influential figures in both the magazine and fashion industries, and although she exited Vogue earlier this year, she has certainly not turned her back on the world of style. Her latest creative effort is a stunningly simple collaboration with iconic jewellery brand Tiffany & Co.
“For generations, Tiffany has defined the true meaning of legendary style. For our latest campaign, we set out to find the best creative talents both behind and in front of the camera, to present our iconic collections,” explains Caroline Naggiar, chief brand officer, Tiffany & Co. “Who better than Grace Coddington, a style legend in her own right, to serve as our creative partner?”
Shot by David Sims, Legendary Style is Tiffany’s campaign for autumn 2016 – and Coddington’s first brand campaign since her departure from Vogue. “Tiffany – and its famed blue box – has always held special meaning for me,” says Coddington. “To me this is not just an ad campaign, but an opportunity to portray a legendary house of luxury through modern portraits of uniquely talented subjects.”
The Legendary Style campaign features four notable names: Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, actress Elle Fanning, and models Christy Turlington Burns and Natalie Westling. Each woman stands against a background of Tiffany blue and sports a variety of pieces, from the Tiffany T Square bracelet and Dazzling Tiffany Keys pendant to the exquisite Tiffany Victoria necklace and newly launched Tiffany T Two rings. These latest additions place the now-familiar T motif of the Tiffany T collection on solid bands of white, rose and yellow gold, complemented with round brilliant diamonds.
The campaign images are accompanied by a black-and-white video series. In one segment, Some Style Is Legendary, which is the tagline for the campaign, each woman shares her own interpretation of legendary style. “The word ‘legend’ has story in it, and story belongs to the storyteller,” says Nyong’o in the clip. “So something legendary is something that keeps its essence, wherever the storyteller is.”
Coddington’s role in producing the campaign is also documented in a 10-minute, behind-the-scenes clip shot by Emmy-winning filmmaker R J Cutler. The opening scene features Coddington briefly explaining why she loves New York City: “It’s because the sky is always blue,” she muses, adding that, like the city, Tiffany is both old and new. “It’s never going to be slotted into one century or another,” she says.
It is revealed early on that Coddington’s inspiration for the campaign’s look, a close-up shot rather than the pulled-back view that Tiffany has adopted in previous campaigns, came from zoomed-in images of Kate Moss, set against a vivid blue background, shot by Sims. The images, which depict a younger Moss sporting faux-cropped short hair, were taken for the 2000 book Heads: Hair by Guido, a tome dedicated to the work of British hairstylist Guido Palau.
“In my head, it was completely Tiffany’s blue,” she explains. “It suddenly occurred to me that this would be something kind of brilliant for a Tiffany campaign.”
From the layout of the images and outfit selections to the choice of models and jewellery, the video shows Coddington moving through each decision with an enviable effortlessness. But we are privy to a moment of honesty, as Coddington confides: “There’s never a job that I’ve done that I wasn’t totally scared out of my pants before I start.”
Read this and more stories in Luxury magazine, out with The National on Thursday, November 3.
Updated: November 1, 2016 04:00 AM