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When I was about twenty-one, those Tiffany tag bracelets were all the rage, so I saved all my money earned from working Saturdays in Russell & Bromley to buy myself one; I think I still have it actually. Back then it was a sign of… youth and frivolity, and proper high fashion. All the girls in Uni wore one and all the boyfriends bought one and engraved it for their girlfriends before presenting it to them on Valentine’s Day. It was a rite of passage and pass through these trends, we did.
We knew we could never afford real diamonds from Tiffany, Elizabeth Duke was as far as we could hope for. (Is that still around?), but the closest we’d get to diamonds from the big boys were these tag bracelets and pretending to be Audrey looking through the window of Tiffany on Bond St. we were anything if not impressionable. So, when this exhibition floated across my Instagram grid as I lazily browsed the platform a few weeks ago, I proceeded to book the free tickets by downloading the app. It was showing at one of my favourite galleries in London, The Saatchi gallery on Kings Road. I booked for early Monday morning showing since the other times were taken and aptly got myself down there. I have to tell you, as someone who s not a Monday person, there is something unholy about Monday mornings, this is the best way to start a walk week; an exhibitions surrounded by fine jewels and history.
Now I will preface this by saying, I don’t care for the movie Breakfast at Tiffany but I do have a solid affinity for Audrey Hepburn so I will watch anything she is in; dead or alive she remains an icon of her time, of all time. The diamonds are fine, I mean all or most diamonds are controversial; Tiffany diamonds are controversial, to say the least, but I appreciate the walk down history lane of the house and its icons; women who wore it and the many campaigns it created over the years. Particularly the whodunnit video that depicts a diamond heist in the Tiffany store, complete with footsteps, disappearing diamonds and magnifying detective glass. Princess Diana to Beyonce, Andre Leon Tally to Grace Jones… Tiffany is a brand with a history of hall of fame as long as its chequered history. It does little to be honest about it here, simply stating the start of its mine in South Africa
The real draw for me here was the floor dedicated to the movie. The movie which I have watched several times besides not really caring for the it, but more its lead; weird I know. This room really is the cherry on top of the cake. It seeks to immerse you into the world of the movie itself with a lifelike set around the 5th Avenue store complete with black tar tiles, yellow taxi and traffic light whilst the movie plays in the background. It is hard not to be appreciative of the cultural weight of its narrative. On display are the original script from Truman Capote and another with Audrey’s notes on it, the Oscars won for the movie and that iconic Givenchy dress. If ever there was an actress that embodies the classic Black dress; Audrey in this moment does and so she owns this look complete with sunglasses. This room tosses us into that world, enveloping us in it, in suspended bliss. And it makes us feel, nothing bad can ever happen here like Audrey says in the movie.
TIFFANY AT THE SAATCHI GALLERY
As far as exhibitions go, it’s a good one, but it could be better, perhaps acknowledge its not so glorious history whilst seeking to elucidate the audience on corrective steps, rather it seeks to distract and attract us to shiny things and like Magpies the audience will lap it up. This is a successful PR campaign and It does so to great success in the first room, we are distracted by the history and the jewels on display. A house the seeks to gloss over its chequered past or allude to it in careless footnotes, leaves one cold, removes what shine there is to it, that’s just my take. Still, I thought it an excellently curated walk through history and I would visit again, if only for the Breakfast At Tiffany room, which I did, heading straight to ti because its simply iconic and if only for that reason, you should try and visit if you can secure tickets.
TIFFANY- VISION AND VIRTUOSITY; SAATCHI GALLERY DUKE OF YORK SQUARE, KINGS ROAD. Until 19th August