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Tiffany & Co.'s Shanghai Sojourn

By James Aguiar | December 13, 2019 | Style & Beauty

Tiffany & Co. descends on Shanghai with a star-studded exhibit premiere—and a soon-to-open flagship store.

Tiffany_Vision_Virtuosity_Tiffany_Love_room.jpgInside the Tiffany Love room at Vision & Virtuosity, the design for the first modern engagement ring, the Tiffany Setting, and the newly introduced Tiffany True engagement ring are on display.

What would bring a handful of celebrities, influencers and press to the other side of the world? Tiffany & Co., of course. At the brand’s invitation, I jetted across the globe to witness its lavish exhibit, Vision & Virtuosity, at the magnificent Fosun Foundation in Shanghai. And, trust me, it was well worth the 15-hour flight.

JamesIMG1889.jpgModern Luxury’s James Aguiar at the Fosun Foundation in Shanghai for the debut of Vision & Virtuosity

Tiffany & Co. spared no expense at the extravagant grand opening event for the exhibit, which showcases the house’s 180-year history to perfection. Guests mingled among the six “chapters” of the jewelry-maker’s greatest hits, as well as its unseen treasures. The first purchase ledger was on display, as was the famed Breakfast at Tiffany’s script, highlighted with Audrey Hepburn’s personal notes. Plus, there were rooms dedicated to past collections like Diamonds, Love and Blue, as well as other cultural icons.

IMG10192019091991606337.jpgThe Amiaya twins with Aleali May, Sami Miró and Raquelle Stevens at the exhibit’s premiere

Brie_Larson_TIffany_Co.jpgActress Brie Larson at the grand opening soiree, wearing a pendant in platinum with 5-carat Fancy Yellow Green diamond and white diamonds, price upon request, Tiffany solitaire diamond earrings in platinum, $1,400, bracelet in platinum with diamonds, $115,000, and Tiffany Setting ring in platinum with an approximately 10-carat diamond and diamonds, price upon request, all at Tiffany & Co., in the Galleria

While the exhibit is firmly rooted in the past, it’s the future that most excites Tiffany & Co. Chief Artistic Officer Reed Krakoff. When asked why he selected Shanghai for the exhibit, he answered simply: “Shanghai is a city rich in cultural history, and we happen to be opening a flagship with our first Blue Box Cafe outside of New York [here],” which debuts this month. Given Tiffany & Co.’s nearly two-century history, Krakoff finds freedom in the fact that the brand “isn’t tied to any particular point in history. But,” he adds, “it’s important to understand the archive to move into the future.”

Tiffany_Vision_Virtuosity_Breakfast_at_Tiffany_Room.jpgInside the Breakfast at Tiffany’s room, find Truman Capote’s 1958 novella Breakfast at Tiffany’s, from which the film was loosely adapted, as well as pages from Audrey Hepburn’s script and a selection of never-before-seen objects from the flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York.

It’s this freedom that allows the designer to develop new and unique items that challenge his team of expert craftspeople. Look no further than his direct influence on Tiffany & Co.’s famed Blue Book Collection, for which he designed stunning pieces in addition to keepsake presentation boxes that are equally deserving of a place of honor on the display shelf.

TCO_Diamond.jpgThe Tiffany Diamond, which was worn by Audrey Hepburn in publicity photos for Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961 and by Lady Gaga at the 2019 Academy Awards, was placed in its current setting (shown here) in 2012 for Tiffany & Co.’s 175th anniversary.

Getting lost in the interactive exhibit is easy, but it’s hard not to stop and stare for hours at magnificent discovery The Tiffany Diamond. The 128.54-carat yellow diamond is considered to be among the most important gemstones in the world. It was made even more famous at last year’s Academy Awards when Lady Gaga donned the piece as she took home the Oscar for best original song.

Although there are no plans for the exhibit to travel as of now, the magic that Tiffany & Co. created with Vision & Virtuosity will shine bright and propel the brand into its next 180-year chapter.

Photography by: Courtesy of Tiffany & Co.