Alexandre Arnault has had quite an 18 months. Since joining Tiffany last January when LVMH acquired the 185-year-old New York jeweller, attention-grabbing, zeitgeist-capturing moments have come thick and fast. From Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s About Love campaign (complete with the backdrop of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s 1982 masterpiece Equals Pi), to the brand’s Supreme collaboration, to the launch of one of the world’s most sought-after watches – the Patek Philippe Tiffany blue Nautilus, as spotted on the wrists of Leonardo DiCaprio and LeBron James – the mission has been to keep Tiffany firmly in the news, and to announce a new era of agenda-setting innovation. Life for the brand’s executive vice president of product and communications has been busy on the personal front, too. Arnault married accessories designer Géraldine Guyot last year, first in Paris and then in Venice at a star-studded celebration attended by the Carters, Pharrell Williams and Kanye West.
Jewellery brands, by nature, are traditional beasts, set on advertising their wares around significant gifting moments, such as Christmas, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s. Arnault and Anthony Ledru, Tiffany’s president and CEO, firmly reject that approach. The reason for adopting a fast-paced communications strategy more in line with a start-up is simple, says the tech-savvy 30-year-old. With consumers’ attention pulled in more directions and across more platforms than ever before, capturing – and holding – that attention is essential to a brand’s success in the 21st century. “We need to be present in many more events and many more places to stay relevant and present in our times,” says Arnault, the third eldest child of LVMH chairman and CEO Bernard Arnault.
Indeed, it is a line out of the LVMH playbook, and something that Arnault has implemented before, as CEO at Rimowa. He succeeded in driving exponential growth at the luggage brand, and in making it hip to boot, with a series of collaborations featuring the likes of Supreme and Off-White’s Virgil Abloh. Innovation is even more relevant in his new role, he says, given that “being Tiffany, being American and being the essence and the epitome of modernity” are precisely all about staying ahead of the (luxury) game.
Brand elevation is another key factor in Tiffany’s new strategy. While it will continue to produce bestselling silver jewellery, such as Elsa Peretti’s iconic Open Heart pendant, Arnault wants to turn up the volume on Tiffany’s legacy of creating high jewellery. It is no coincidence that the legendary 128-carat Tiffany Diamond, first unveiled by founder Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1878, was worn by Beyoncé in last year’s ad campaign. “We wanted to remind people that we own the best stones, we own the best craftsmanship, and we have all this in our company,” he says.