A Milestone Marriage: Tiffany and Frank Gehry

After months of hype, Tiffany unveiled its new Frank Gehry collection in April.

Tiffany threw a Gehry debut bash at its Beverly Hills, Calif., store, rather than its landmark location on Fifth Avenue in New York. That move was motivated by the architect—Gehry lives on the left coast—and strategy: “We hoped it would be a little bit unexpected,” says Linda Buckley, spokeswoman for the company.

The retailer also shut down Rodeo Drive to traffic in order to handle the anticipated celebrity and patron overflow. In turn, major star power, including Ellen DeGeneres and Mira Sorvino, showed up to see how the artist tackled wee forms of sculpture and building materials.

Gehry’s penchant for odd materials (like his corrugated metal and chain-link house in Santa Monica, Calif.) and flair for fashioning deconstructivist forms (like his titanium-covered Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain) carried over into his jewelry, designed in black gold, Pernambuco wood, and cocholong stone. His themes—Torque, Fish, Orchid, Equus, Fold, and Axis—and his often- anguished jewelry forms reflect architecture, art, and even some childhood memories. Tiffany is staggering the launches of the Gehry lines within stores nationwide to maintain suspense.

According to Buckley, this union of supertalents was years in the making. Mutual interest sparked around the time Tiffany introduced its Tiffany Mark watch in 2002. Tiffany subsequently honored Gehry in Los Angeles for the design of the Walt Disney Concert Hall; at that time, the retailer asked him to create a brooch for auctioning at the Concert Hall’s opening, but timing interfered and the piece never materialized. Once schedules permitted, though, Gehry and the Tiffany designers got acquainted, and their affinity was clear.