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Tiffany & Co Tiffany T launch party

Luxe jewellery house Tiffany & Co marked the end of the global launch of its chic new collection with a bespoke candlelit dinner in Sydney's CBD, writes Maya Kerthyasa.

It can be tricky pinpointing precisely what makes Francesca Amfitheatrof so captivating - mostly because there's so much to choose from. Tiffany & Co's newly appointed design director has lived and worked in some of the world's most interesting cities (Tokyo, London, Rome, Moscow and New York among them), her credentials - she graduated as a jeweller and silversmith from London's Royal College of Art and Central Saint Martins - are impeccable, and her CV spans Chanel, Fendi and Marni, plus stints curating art for private collectors and museums around the globe. She's not short on charisma either. "I love talking to strangers," she says. "It's one of my favourite pastimes."

Amfitheatrof's appointment marks a change in direction for Tiffany & Co as her début line, Tiffany T, shows. "Tiffany T pays homage to the Tiffany name," says the company's Australian managing director, Glen Schlehuber, "but it also has a verticality and angularity that is different to any of our existing collections."

It's a range with more of an edge than consumers have come to expect from the jewellery house, designed to mirror the power and pulse of New York City and the women that live in it.

"This line is very much for the modern woman," says Amfitheatrof. "I've just moved to New York, so I'm fascinated by New York women, fascinated by the pace and the style. You have to be prepared for the city - you're running on the subway, in and out of taxis, and it's quite loud and crazy - but New York women seem to always be very stylish in a casual way."

Amfitheatrof's inauguration has had her touring the world for four months to unveil T. Her Sydney visit was the trip's grand finale and Tiffany's Australian office put on a suitably chic soirée to mark the occasion.

The empty space above Alpha restaurant provided a striking setting, the exposed brick of the warehouse-like space warmed by the glow of banks of candles down two long tables, and white floor-to-ceiling curtains draped on the fringes of the room. Schlehuber introduced Amfitheatrof as "a true global citizen, having [had] the opportunity to grow up, live and work in some of the world's most exciting cities".

The crowd, a mix of media, fashion personalities and socialites, hobnobbed over Caprioskas and Charles Heidsieck as they examined the collection's bold ceramic cuffs, flexible bracelets and adjustable - almost mechanical - gold chains, before sitting down to dinner by Cook and Waiter's John Wilson.

Wilson drew on Amfitheatrof's love of Asia - "I'm more East than Europe" - and the collection's clean, simple aesthetic for inspiration, opening the affair with a fresh sesame-laced salad of goma dofu, raw broad beans, asparagus and mizuna with a punchy honey dressing. A richly textured dish of poached chicken with oyster mushrooms and steamed greens followed, then a sweet tasting plate, which included electric-green pandanus and lime mousse, caramelised banana slices and coconut-infused tapioca pearls.

"We wanted the dinner party to have a modern, contemporary and somewhat unexpected feel," Schlehuber says. "It needed to embody the spirit of Tiffany and the new Tiffany T collection."

Mission accomplished.


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