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Beyonce – wearing the Tiffany Diamond – and husband Jay Z pose with Jean-Michel Basquiat's 'Equals Pi' painting in the new Tiffany & Co. advertisement. Image credit: Mason Poole/Tiffany & Co.
Beyonce – wearing the Tiffany Diamond – and husband Jay Z pose with Jean-Michel Basquiat's 'Equals Pi' painting in the new Tiffany & Co. advertisement. Image credit: Mason Poole/Tiffany & Co.

LVMH launches Tiffany campaign featuring Beyoncé, Jay Z; sparks controversy

Six months after assuming control of Tiffany & Co., French luxury conglomerate Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (LVMH) has unveiled a new advertising campaign starring celebrity couple Beyoncé and Jay Z, which has provoked a backlash among some consumers.

Entitled ‘About Love’, the campaign pays homage to Audrey Hepburn’s iconic performance in the 1961 film Breakfast At Tiffany’s, with Beyoncé wearing a form-fitting black gown and the Tiffany Diamond, a 128.54-carat canary yellow stone set in a diamond pendant – making her the first woman of colour to do so.

Alexandre Arnault
Alexandre Arnault
"It’s the only year-long campaign that we have. It marks a clear evolution of what we’ve been doing from a creative standpoint"
Alexandre Arnault, Tiffany & Co.

The Tiffany Diamond was previously worn by just three women – Lady Gaga, Audrey Hepburn, and socialite Mary Whitehouse; actress Gal Gadot will also reportedly wear the stone in the upcoming film Death On The Nile.

The diamond was unearthed at the Kimberley Mine in South Africa in 1877, while the region was still under British colonial rule.

The decision to showcase the diamond has prompted criticism on social media for its colonial legacy, with some referring to it as a ‘blood diamond’; however, the United Nations defines a blood diamond, also known as a conflict diamond, as a stone that is mined in areas controlled by forces opposed to the legitimate, internationally recognised government of a country and that is sold to fund military action against that government.

Neither Tiffany & Co. nor Beyoncé and Jay Z have commented on the controversy.

• The Tiffany Diamond is a ‘blood diamond’  While mined during colonial rule, the Tiffany Diamond is not a blood diamond, or conflict diamond, according to the United Nations definition.

• Wearing the Tiffany Diamond is an endorsement of colonialism The diamond was worn by Lady Gaga to the Academy Awards in 2019, and by Audrey Hepburn in the 1960s, without reference to its colonial history

• Celebrities should wear ethically-sourced diamonds and gemstones – The diamond industry, and more recently the gemstone industry, have made significant investments into supply chain transparency and ethical sourcing; however, historical jewellery pieces cannot be judged by modern standards.

Images from the campaign also show Beyoncé and Jay Z posing alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Equals Pi painting, a 1982 work featuring a shade of blue almost identical to Tiffany’s signature colour.

Notably, LVMH recently hosted a retrospective of Basquiat’s work at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris and will permanently exhibit Equals Pi at the new Tiffany & Co. flagship store in New York once renovations are completed next year.

Alexandre Arnault, executive vice-president of product and communication at Tiffany & Co., called the use of the painting “a way to modernise Tiffany blue”.

However, criticism has abounded over the use of the late painter’s work in a commercial context. 

The new campaign has already launched on social media, with print media and billboards to follow.

Additionally, a short film accompanying the images will be released on 15 September, featuring Beyoncé performing 'Moon River' – the theme song from Breakfast At Tiffany’s.

Arnault has said the campaign will run for one year. “The investment will be pretty impressive,” he told US fashion publication Women’s Wear Daily.

“It’s our biggest campaign for the year. It’s the most enduring campaign. Also, it’s the only year-long campaign that we have. It marks a clear evolution of what we’ve been doing from a creative standpoint.”

Tiffany & Co. has also committed to a $US2 million scholarship and internship fund for historically Black universities in the US.

 

WATCH FULL VIDEO: BeyoncÉ'S 'Moonriver'

Updated 14th September


 

Tiffany Campaign

 

More reading:
Beyoncé, Tiffany, and the marketing conundrum
LVMH: Why no other company compares
LVMH Watches & Jewellery division doubles profit in first half of 2021
Tiffany & Co. settles nearly decade-long Costco lawsuit
LVMH watch and jewellery division records 138 per cent increase in revenue following Tiffany & Co. acquisition











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