Mister Designer: Jean Moore, A Legend At Tiffany & Co

Mister Designer: Jean Moore, A Legend At Tiffany & Co
Mister Designer: Jean Moore, A Legend At Tiffany & Co

Video: Mister Designer: Jean Moore, A Legend At Tiffany & Co

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"Showcases should be discreet," Jean Moore said, "because they appeal to strangers." And installed incredible, sometimes surrealist installations in them, created in conjunction with Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg or Jasper Johns. Legendary showcase designer Tiffany & Co., who worked for an American jewelry house for almost 40 years (from 1955, when he was 45, to 1994, when he retired at the age of 84 as vice president of window dressing), created about 5 thousand showcases, and more often than others, he collaborated with the American sculptor and artist Alexander Ney, who was born in Leningrad. Often, the windows of the flagship boutique Tiffany & Co.on Fifth Avenue in New York - and that's only five relatively small windows, Moore worked in a much smaller space than most modern window designers - was the place where the public first became acquainted with the works of contemporary artists. "Make the man stop" was his motto.

Gene Moore's first Christmas showcase for Tiffany & Co., 1955
Gene Moore's first Christmas showcase for Tiffany & Co., 1955

Gene Moore's first Christmas showcase for Tiffany & Co., 1955 © Tiffany & Co. Press Office

Now it is still difficult to get a person to stop at the window, or even more so, as the heroine of Breakfast at Tiffany's Holly Golightly loved, to linger and drink coffee with a croissant is still difficult, and brands go to great lengths: Yayoi Kusama decorates the space behind Louis Vuitton glasses (2012 year), and Hermès showcases are outsourced to South Korean sculptor Osang Gwon (2016). In the pre-Christmas period, especially in the Mecca of shopping such as the same Fifth Avenue in New York, a parade of decorating vanity begins and a competition for the most unusual shop windows. 1950s, when Moore started at Tiffany & Co. were a very different time: display cases were boring and served as a kind of street-facing product counter. And here in five showcases of Tiffany & Co.a large diamond appears on a sheet of lettuce, scattered pearls, an angel with the famous yellow Tiffany diamond in his hands, a bird with a necklace in its beak … “Perhaps I’m a little crazy,” Moore said, “but you have to be an eccentric to create something something original. " One of his most famous creations, known to us mainly from photographs by Edgar de Evia, is a showcase with a deer head and champagne bowls. “Incredible things make people smile,” Moore said.

Tiffany & Co. Christmas Showcase, 2014
Tiffany & Co. Christmas Showcase, 2014

Tiffany & Co. Christmas Showcase, 2014 © Tiffany & Co. Press Office

Gene Moore was born in Birmingham, Alabama. He is credited with the phrase: "For anyone who had dreams, it would be completely wrong to be born in this place." But he had dreams - he wanted to become a pianist or artist, but later decided that he was not playing and writing well enough (he burned his paintings altogether). In the 1930s, he moved to New York, where he contracted for various jobs, one of which was the design of shop windows. He started with one thing, but the originality of his ideas attracted other customers as well. It is believed that he did not have teachers in the business of window dressing - Jin was self-taught.

He convinced the owner of one of the shops to use white Christmas bulbs in the windows instead of the color ones that were common then. Take a look at the modern shop windows of any metropolis - all white bulbs. But it was Moore who was the first.

In the 1950s, Tiffany & Co. by inviting this innovator to change the face of the flagship store on Fifth Avenue. The invitation is explained by Moore's earlier cooperation with the Bonwit Teller department store, acquired in 1946 by the American businessman of Swedish origin Walter Hoving, who in 1955 bought the Tiffany & Co. business from the family.

Until Moore, it seems that nothing but the decorations had changed since the 1880s; they were still executed in the Art Nouveau style, which was iconic for the jewelry house. And then Moore appears, holding the diamond in a vice or setting kissing rhinos for Valentine's Day.

Showcase for the presentation of the Out of Retirement collection at Tokyo's Dover Street Market, inspired by the work of Gene Moore
Showcase for the presentation of the Out of Retirement collection at Tokyo's Dover Street Market, inspired by the work of Gene Moore

Showcase for the presentation of the Out of Retirement collection at Tokyo's Dover Street Market, inspired by the work of Gene Moore

The latter, by the way, could be seen again last year: several Moore windows were restored on the occasion of the appearance of a special Out of Retirement collection for three Dover Street Market boutiques - in London, Tokyo and New York. “We have created replicas reminiscent of Gene Moore's famous showcases,” said the design director at Tiffany & Co. Francesca Amphitheatroph. “His windows were legendary. People came out of Studio 54, walked to Tiffany & Co. to see the new installation, and continued the party right in front of our windows. Moore was a phenomenon … and his windows were true works of art."

During his tenure at Tiffany & Co. colleagues called him simply - "the magician." Magic was born from anything, feathers, pasta or ice cream cones could serve as material for optical illusions and play with space.

The diamond in the tongs is one of Gene Moore's most famous showcases for Tiffany & Co
The diamond in the tongs is one of Gene Moore's most famous showcases for Tiffany & Co

The diamond in the tongs is one of Gene Moore 's most famous showcases for Tiffany & Co. © Tiffany & Co. Press Office

“It turned the concept of window dressing upside down,” says Tiffany & Co.'s vice president. on visual merchandising, Richard Moore (which is interesting - the namesake, not a relative of Gene Moore). "He made them theatrical, brought them to life." At Tiffany & Co. and now they are trying to continue Moore's work, not just showing jewelry, but telling a story in the windows. A team of 20 designers has been working on the development and implementation of each for seven months.

When Moore began working for Tiffany & Co. window-making was purely masculine - as he recalls in his 1990 memoir, My Time at Tiffany's, they had to be mounted at night, and the law forbade women to work after ten in the evening.

In the same place, Moore recalls: “For Rauschenberg and Jones, Tiffany became something of a demonstration platform, I set the direction, said what I needed, and then they went and did. I never knew which of them did what exactly, at some point they even took a common pseudonym - Matson Jones, which they used for commercial works to separate them from their serious art."

Showcase for the presentation of the Out of Retirement collection at New York's Dover Street Market, inspired by the work of Gene Moore
Showcase for the presentation of the Out of Retirement collection at New York's Dover Street Market, inspired by the work of Gene Moore

Showcase for the presentation of the Out of Retirement collection at New York's Dover Street Market, inspired by the work of Gene Moore

Moore's design came from an idea, a concept, and not from things that would appear in these windows. He recalled: “A few days before the new windows were installed, I walked around the store looking for things that would fit what I had planned.”

Each of Moore's showcases is a story that he shares in his memoirs. Thus, in collaboration with Rauschenberg and Jones, he presented on August 30, 1956, "Scenes in the Caves". “The caves were amazing,” Moore recalled in the book. "Rauschenberg and Jones made five plaster caves with foliage for me: ice, stone, coal … - in them I put jewelry as if they had just been found in a cave." From his other memories of the same windows: “This is how my brain works. I thought: diamonds, cold, ice. Therefore, a reservoir of water appeared near the ice cave, and on top of it I put the diamonds as if they were floating on the surface like icebergs, then I ran to a fish restaurant nearby, rented a pump and installed it so that there were bubbles."

Some reproach Moore for underestimating the contribution of artists to his works, more than he attributed to himself, but even this one story with caves is indicative - perhaps Jones and Rauschenberg should be called the designers of those showcases, and Moore - the director of the entire theatrical action. which can now be seen in photographs (Moore's best works are collected in "Windows at Tiffany's: The Art of Gene Moore") and in projects that recreate his showcases for Tiffany. But these showcases are no longer limited to Moore's space. He has radically changed the way the store is visualized, and in any artfully designed window display has a bit of Gene Moore.>

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