While actress Rowan Blanchard may look her age, a youthful 18, her taste in jewelry suggests a sophistication well beyond her years. "For the Golden Globes parties this year I wore the biggest Tiffany diamond and tourmaline necklace," she says. "I felt like I was playing the role of an older woman and those were the jewels her husband bought her. I love the trope of glamorous women with their diamonds on — it's such a glorious, campy image."
The delight she's taking is due in part to chief artistic officer Reed Krakoff, who's been charged with bringing in a fresh outlook and building on the brand's storied 183-year history (cue references to Breakfast at Tiffany's and New York City doyennes dripping in gems). He's the eye behind the kinds of mind-blowing, ultra-special pieces we see on the red carpet — like the stunning diamond necklace Gal Gadot flaunted at the Oscars this year — and the cheeky Everyday Objects collection, which is made up of useful goods with his signature high-end spin (think: sterling silver crazy straws). More than anything, however, Krakoff wants his designs to be approachable. "People aren't looking to be told, 'This is the way you wear diamonds in society now,'" he says. "In one of my first campaigns we shot Elle Fanning wearing a tiara and a hoodie as a way of showing that these things that are traditionally worn a certain way are really meant to be interpreted by the wearer."
That sort of effortless style is what Krakoff considers the hallmark of American luxury, something he knows plenty about as the former president and executive creative director of Coach and founder of his namesake label, which closed in 2015. Subverting the idea of preciousness and prioritizing utility have always been central to Krakoff's design philosophy. "Americans are all about utilitarianism and 'Form follows function,'" says the Connecticut native. "I really identify with statements like that and always have throughout my life in design."
Tiffany's latest offering is called T1, a line of diamond and gold jewelry that evolved from the T motif introduced in the '80s by former Tiffany designer John Loring. Charlize Theron wore the collection's début piece, a rose gold and diamond choker, to the BAFTAs this year. For Krakoff, Blanchard perfectly embodies the spirit of the new line. "Rowan has a timelessness and coolness that's not too edgy but is modern," he says. "She has a looseness to her style, which is what we're all about."
Krakoff first met Blanchard in 2018, when she was photographed for Tiffany's Save the Wild collection in support of the Knot on My Planet campaign (100% of the proceeds benefited the Wildlife Conservation Network). While Blanchard takes care to educate herself on issues that matter to her, like human rights, gun control, and environmental protection, she no longer publicly identifies as an activist. "I was talking about things I care about from such an early age, it became the easiest thing to sensationalize," she says. Now she focuses on putting her beliefs into action rather than simply voicing them on social media. Nevertheless, her convictions are among the reasons Krakoff wanted to work with her on Save the Wild. And despite her reluctance to let her principles define her, she's glad to be recognized for something beyond surface-level sparkle. "The other day two high-school-age girls came up to me and said, 'We really appreciate what you stand for.' It is affirming when other young women come up to me and say that."
That's something else Blanchard has in common with the brand: a fearlessness about speaking up. Most recently, Tiffany took out a full-page ad in the Australian newspaper The Age calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take "bold and decisive climate action." The brand also ran ads in The New York Times urging President Trump to keep the United States in the Paris climate agreement. "Tiffany has a long-standing commitment to sustainability," says Krakoff, noting the company's dedication to reduce, avoid, and offset its carbon emissions; its transparency in sourcing diamonds; and its donation of millions each year to philanthropic causes through the Tiffany & Co. Foundation. Whereas most major corporations might shy away from taking what could be seen as a political stance, Krakoff doesn't back down. "There's some risk in it, but the greater good has always been what the company responds to," he says.
Photographed by Tom Allen. Styled by Vanessa Chow. Hair: Shinya Nakagawa for Artlist. Makeup: Sam Visser for Forward Artists. Manicure: Yukie Miyakawa for Walter Schupfer Management. Location: Veronika, N.Y.C.
For more stories like this, pick up the April issue of InStyle, available on newsstands, on Amazon, and for digital download March 20.
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