What to Watch: Piecing Together Clues Around Tiffany & Co.’s Renovated Fifth Avenue Flagship

Tiffany & Co.’s reenvisioned Fifth Avenue flagship — the backdrop of one of the most famous films in cinema history — is set to open in the first half of 2023. So what will it look like when the doors reopen?

The total renovation, which is understood to have taken the building at 727 Fifth Ave. down to its studs, broke ground in 2019. But very few details about the overhaul, or its current status, have been made public since. Tiffany declined to comment.

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It’s an understatement to say that a lot has changed in the four years since the renovation began. When the project was unveiled in 2018, Tiffany was publicly listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the redesign of the flagship was put in the hands of then-chief artistic officer Reed Krakoff under then-chief executive officer Alessandro Bogliolo.

Fast-forward and Tiffany has of course been acquired by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in what was luxury’s largest-ever business transaction — at about $15.8 billion. The executive team initially responsible for the flagship overhaul is no longer there.

But as LVMH remains quiet about the project, there are a few clues in play.

As previously reported by WWD, when the French luxury conglomerate took charge of Tiffany it quickly tasked star architect and longtime collaborator Peter Marino with the flagship’s redesign working with Tiffany’s now-CEO Anthony Ledru.

Prior to the acquisition in August 2020, the jeweler revealed that the flagship’s 1980s, three-story rooftop addition would be demolished. In its place would sit a new three-floor structure, plus a 29-foot-high glass cube, devised by Rem Koolhaas’ architecture firm OMA. It’s unclear if plans for the contemporary, glass curtain-style addition have been changed since Marino took charge of the project.

In the last year, Tiffany began renovations of smaller stores that it says are representative of its new retail concept. Their use of contemporary art, warmer metal tones, curved caselines and updated lighting potentially foreshadow the flagship’s overall visual concept.

In recent weeks the Fifth Avenue façade of Tiffany’s flagship was visible for the first time in years. The jeweler had used a series of large advertising scrims depicting its latest ad campaigns to obscure views of the construction inside. One large scrim still hangs on the store’s 57th Street facade, but the Fifth Avenue side had — perhaps briefly — been removed.

WWD observed that, with floor after floor of recessed lights and white drywall, most of the structural work inside the flagship — like electrical and plumbing work — appeared to be nearly finished.

The layers of expensive fixtures that Marino is likely to have ordered, though, will probably require considerable additional time and leave many deadlines in limbo — particularly as the global supply chain continues to experience strain.

The jeweler has utilized a space at 6 East 57th Street as its temporary “Flagship Next Door,” since its Fifth Avenue renovation began four years ago.

Last March, Ledru said he hoped the flagship would be ready in time for the 2022 holiday season. Now a Valentine’s Day target also seems unlikely. Tiffany will likely push for an opening before New York’s summertime lull.

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