Why Tiffany & Co. is bringing its Blue Box Cafe to South Coast Plaza
West Coast fans of the 1961 Audrey Hepburn classic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” will finally get to live out their fantasy of dining at the famous jewelry store.
In December, Tiffany & Co. is opening a Blue Box Cafe at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. It follows last year’s temporary Blue Box Cafe pop-up at the jewelry store’s Beverly Hills boutique and the 2017 launch of its first Blue Box Cafe at its New York flagship store. (The Fifth Avenue cafe is expected to reopen next year.)
Reed Krakoff, Tiffany & Co.’s chief artistic officer, said the jewelry brand’s relocated and newly designed Costa Mesa boutique, expected to open in November, was a natural choice for its latest bistro, which will seat up to 45 guests.
“It’s an incredible space,” Krakoff said. “It’s pretty rare that we have the space. We have the right location. We have the customer who appreciates that.”
The Blue Box Cafe will offer a menu similar to its New York counterpart, with American classics made from regionally sourced ingredients. Although initially the cafe will offer limited service because of coronavirus restrictions, the plan is to offer full service next spring.
The new Tiffany & Co. eatery will follow local guidelines, with inside dining available at limited capacity. (Unlike Los Angeles, Orange County restaurants were allowed to resume indoor dining at 25% capacity as of early September.)
More of that iconic shade of blue synonymous with the New York-based jewelry house Tiffany & Co. is coming to Beverly Hills — just before Mother’s Day next month.
Fans of the brand will be in for much more than breakfast when they visit the new South Coast Plaza location. The 12,000-square-foot boutique is almost double the size of the brand’s erstwhile space. Tiffany & Co. has had a presence in the shopping center since opening there in 1988. The brand’s previous space was last renovated in 2003.
“This store really embodies the best of Tiffany retail right now,” Krakoff said of the store. “It has the space and the scale where we can really tell the whole story of this chapter of Tiffany’s — and the next chapter of Tiffany’s.”
Krakoff, former executive creative director of Coach, joined Tiffany & Co. in 2017 and was tasked with modernizing the legacy jewelry brand. “The biggest challenge has been, and always will be, how do you celebrate Tiffany’s heritage without feeling like you’re stuck in the past,” he said. “It’s a delicate balance. I spent a lot of time in the archives when I began and tried to absorb everything I could. And then I put it away and worked on things that felt interesting, things that felt different, things that felt like they were missing from the assortment.”
Krakoff said the South Coast Plaza store is one of the brand’s highest-volume store in the United States outside of New York and, therefore, will have the largest assortment of rare, diamond and colored gemstone designs from Tiffany & Co.’s high jewelry collection.
The Orange County location also will be the first North American store to exclusively preview the Tiffany T1 collection’s Tiffany T1 bangle and ring in 18-karat rose gold with baguette diamonds, the latter of which retails for $7,500. The new styles reinterpret the brand’s “T” design, which was introduced in the 1980s.
The temporary store, which will highlight the new Tiffany Men’s collection, will offer a rare chance to see top sports trophies from the NFL, NBA, USTA and PGA together for two days on Oct. 12 and 13.
In terms of the store’s interior design, the new boutique will feature a custom Tiffany Wheat Leaf wall crafted in carved stone, a hand-painted mural by New York artist Yoon Hyup, hand-embroidered murals, a custom chandelier made of hand-cast crystal cylinders and an oversize portrait of Tiffany‘s founder, Charles Lewis Tiffany.
“It’s an entirely new store concept,” Krakoff said. “It’s a way for us to tell broader, bigger, more impactful stories, to highlight product in a different way, to show jewelry in a new way, and essentially to excite the customer.”
The space also will include a Tiffany Blue Box gift wrapping station as well as a personalization counter where customers can get items engraved on-site.
Tiffany & Co. has long had a presence in California, with 18 stores including its Beverly Hills store, which opened in 1966. “We have a connection that’s real and genuine with Hollywood and Los Angeles,” Krakoff said. “‘[Breakfast at] Tiffany’s’ is arguably one of the most famous movies that a brand is associated with. … It’s something that is really embedded and part of the Hollywood history.”
French luxury giant LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton said Monday it had reached a deal to buy U.S.-based jewelry legend Tiffany & Co. for $16.2 billion.
The brand has continued its close association with cinema and the zeitgeist. Lady Gaga wore Audrey Hepburn’s Tiffany diamond to last year’s Oscars, and Lizzo recently appeared dripping in Tiffany diamonds on the October cover of Vogue.
Despite the recent wins, the brand has had a major setback. Last November, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, whose jewelry brands include Bulgari and Tag Heuer, announced it was acquiring Tiffany & Co. in a $16.2-billion deal. However, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the French luxury conglomerate pulled out of the agreement in September. As a result, Tiffany & Co. is suing LVMH, and LVMH has countersued.
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