The Selfridges x Tiffany & Co. ‘Fifth & 57th’ exhibition is yet another example of luxury brands seducing existing and prospective customers with immersive bricks and mortar experiences. This delightful experience takes place in the Old Selfridges Hotel, an annexe behind Selfridges where you’ll ascend a couple of flights of stairs and find yourself seeemingly slap bang in the cross fire of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street, New York. It’s a digital installation, with fast-moving video footage of New York accompanied by very realistic street sounds that instantly transport you to the drama and chaos of Manhattan.
Why? It’s all to celebrate the newly expanded Tiffany concession in the Selfridges flagship store. But doing it this way, you get a different, more sensorial experience that is nothing to do with shopping. Well, it is, but subliminally. Which is, of course, the point. Walk along the ‘street’ surrounded by ‘buildings’ made of hundreds of stacked boxes and stop at the pretzel and coffee carts for a free snack. Then wander into the Tiffany ‘store’ where you can watch a master engraver at work. (Buy something from the Tiffany store on the ground floor, and you can have it hand engraved free of charge). There’s also a screening area to learn about the history of Tiffany timepieces (it’s pretty great – who knew the idea of the ‘New York minute’ came from New Yorkers setting their watches to the time on the Tiffany clock?) – and then… a rather fabulous secret bar.
As ever with these extravagant branded exhibitions (think the recent Philippe Patek, the Chanel Little Black Jacket, the Vuitton Series 2 Past, Present Future in L.A and Rome), it’s about subtly seducing visitors with brand codes. The craft, the history, the seemingly insignificant details that are not as insignificant as they appear. But in order to do that, the execution has to be immaculate. It’s beautifully done here, so do pop up if you’re in the area.
And of course, if you feel like it, you can buy a souvenir from the store. Tiffany has produced a Tiffany T cut-out cuff and ring in sterling silver with black ceramic exclusively for Selfridges to coincide with the installation.
The Selfridges X Tiffany & Co. “Fifth & 57th” installation is free and open to the public from Friday 3 July until Sunday 12 July (closed 6-7 July) at the Old Selfridges Hotel, Orchard Street, London. Opening hours are 12:00–9:00PM and 12:00–6:00PM on Sundays.
WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
IMAGES: Tiffany; Disneyrollergirl