There are so many things going on all over the Preppy Planet, we are forced to do a one-topic-Tuesday. Today’s topic is one near and dear to the hearts of many readers: Tiffany.
We begin with The Good: news that the storied company is launching a handbag collection, along with small leather goods. Now some may be saying “Nay, nay oh Miss Princess, not so fast, there *have* been Tiffany handbags before!” And that would be accurate, we described them on more than one occasion, most tediously way back in this post (July of 2008). Remember these?
We were actually rather fond of the style, liking the contrast in texture and color between the canvas and the leather. The bags were only available online, something that frequently raises an eyebrow, and at $395 they didn’t seem to tip the Outrageous-o-Meter in the red zone. ( Some can still be seen online, although they are not available for purchase, it may be a case of someone simply not taking the page off the site.)
Elizabeth Holmes at the Journal did a splendid job sharing news of the jeweler’s new foray into leather in “Something New in Tiffany Blue” last week. (You do not want to contemplate the shriek the poor Consort had to tolerate, emanating from yours truly upon first spotting the story in the paper, the poor man really deserves hazardous duty pay.)
The Collection may be previewed on the Tiffany website, we are very fond of the tote shown above when done in another of the available color combinations seen below.
One of the best things about the new line? The designers: Richard Lambertson and John Truex, hired by Tiffany about a year ago when the duo shut down their own Lambertson Truex accessory line. Below, two more styles.
The Journal story points out the benefits of offering leather goods:
“Handbags have enjoyed sparkling sales in recent years and are in some ways easier for a retailer to move: Women are more likely to splurge on bags for themselves than on jewelry. “Unlike jewelry, which sometimes feels extravagant, handbags always serve a purpose,” says John Long, a retail strategist…”
Next, the Galaxy Clutch with Austrian crystals and semi-precious stones on silk, $1295, a style that dovetails with the Tiffany look.
Something that shrieks says “Tiffany”, the Avenue Tote.
The Tiffany East Side tote in leather, $1495.
The men’s products include a leather card case and top out at $1295 for a crocodile organizer.
More from Ms. Holmes’ story:
“Every piece bears an element of Tiffany’s signature robin’s egg blue, whether on a clasp, in a lining or all over a dyed-crocodile purse. Prices for women’s handbags start at $395 for a small suede tote and rocket up to $17,500 for a large crocodile handbag.”
Here is a look at that higher-end Manhattan satchel.
The Tiffany blue may be seen in the accent on the clasp.
We are also impressed with several of the formal styles, the satin Camille ($1195) and the Morgan ($995).
The marketing campaign is in full swing, Tiffany has posted photos of Jennifer Aniston carrying the Reversible Tote on their Facebook page.
The firm also placed one of the new bags with Jessica Biel for the London première of The A-Team.
The collection will not be offered at all Tiffany stores; click here to see a list showing where the handbags will be available.
We’re putting Tiffany’s new leather collection in the “Good” category. We move on to the “Bad”.
Yes, that is authentic Tiffany jewelry at discounter Beyond the Rack, one of those ubiquitous members-only (ahem) pop-up sale sites. (If in need of an invite, just email us at email@example.com.) The sale was buried in a Saturday morning start, it ended yesterday at 11am. We counted 32 different pieces that were offered, most sold out quickly, like the Atlas key ring (sold at $179 versus $235 at Tiffany).
Pieces by some of the jeweler’s more notable designers were on sale, Paloma Picasso and Elsa Peretti.
We harken back to the WSJ handbags story for this insight, applicable to the discount sale over the weekend.
“And Tiffany continues to walk a thin line as it tries to drive sales through accessibly priced goods while maintaining its uptown image.”
It can be very difficult to regain the luster in a consumer’s mind (and pocketbook) once a brand is cheapened or otherwise damaged.
This brings us, finally, to The Ugly.
The sad subject is best explained in a post receiving more comments than many others: the dreary “Tiffany Makes the Princess Pout” from back in March of 2009. It involved Tiffany Blue Band china.
Blue Band was/is our formal pattern, and ‘back in the day’ we were fortunate to receive many pieces from our wedding registry, also adding pieces over the years. The post was essentially a whine-a-thon of epic proportions about our deep disappointment in the company, we were never told about the pattern going away.
It turned out we weren’t alone in the situation, as seen by the comments left by readers:
- “I have just had the same thing happen with my pattern, Palm. I simply cannot fathom why Tiffany would not notify customers using their registry information!”
- “I now own an incomplete set of Platinum Band china and I had no idea it was being discontinued until last week. The girl on the phone said they would have sent me an email. I asked her when I would have received the email, and she said, “I wanna say…. like a year ago.” !”
- “… turned to Tiff for my bridal pattern AUDUBON and naively thought I would be able to add to my pattern at any time. That’s why you go with Tiffany, right?? Because of its long history of customer service and dependability??”
One comment was helpful in shedding some light on the situation:
“My mother squeaked to her connections and was informed that Limoges is closing the factory in France that makes certain Tiff patterns. Limoges is relocating that factory to a location that La Tiff feels will not have the same level of quality control.”
The story Ms. Holmes did on Tiffany’s new handbags also explains what has been going on:
“The new bag collection will take up display space in stores that has been vacated by tabletop china and silver. Tiffany says it has been trimming down its selection of tableware, which also includes crystal, for a “number of years.” For example, there are fewer china patterns offered today than five years ago.”
One would think yours truly might have figured this out, but it never occurred to us; it makes perfect sense. The post has now created something akin to a tiny clearinghouse for those in need:
“Looking for the following to complete my Aunt’s DESIGNED BY TIFFANY & COMPANY PLATINUM BAND, LIMOGES-FRANCE china:
1 SUGAR BOWL WITH LID
1 CHARGER PLATE
5 RIMMED SOUP BOWLS
5 CREAM SOUP BOWLS WITH SAUCERS
If you have any of these items please notify me at firstname.lastname@example.org“
That is merely one example; we share all this because comments continue to be posted by those looking to purchase (or in some cases, sell) certain patterns. We do not want to become a go-between for those engaged in buying or selling of Tiffany china, we simply offer a suggestion that those desperate and unable to locate pieces they need via Replacements, online auctions, or other resources, take a gander at the comments section to see if there is any hope.
We have received notes and comments, Tweets and Facebook messages in the 18 months since the post was published, and thank everyone for their kind input. We felt an update was in order as the comments and email inquiries continue to come in, and we thank everyone, especially those with no stake in the matter for their gracious indulgence with today’s post. Hopefully this will serve to conclude our public discourse on the topic.
With that we say goodbye until next time!
- Ian Gavan/Getty Images