"During the years that I spent writing Summer at Tiffany my first thought for the cover was always of Tiffany & Co.'s signature blue box with the white ribbon. I had been writing my story solely for my grandchildren and family—intending to self-publish—and therefore had imagined somehow designing the jacket myself. But when the opening pages of my manuscript lead to its writers' conference discovery and acquisition back in 2006, it was an unexpected delight to know that professional designers from HarperCollins would be actively working on the book's jacket. And what a revelation their talents have been! I wouldn't have dared dream of all the different concepts that I would see for both the hardcover and the paperback jackets, and what different feelings those treatments would evoke for me, my family, and ultimately for those who happened upon Summer at Tiffany in the bookstore.
"For the hardcover jacket, Morrow Art Director Richard Aquan worked with artist Edward Kurtzman, whose sketches of both Tiffany & Co. and 1945 New York appear as an insert in the book alongside my personal photographs. The Morrow Publisher wanted an illustration of a girl added to a Tiffany scene—either this girl standing before the sales floor, or of a girl seeing the exterior of Tiffany itself as so many do from Fifth Avenue at Fifty Seventh Street. To that end, my editor was in touch with me to ask for more details of the uniform we wore at Tiffany. I called my best friend Marty—with whom I experienced that fateful summer—to check her memory of the length of sleeves and the pleating of the fabric against my own, and then I sketched the uniform we once wore from memory and sent it off to my editor.
"I liked that the final design for the cover was rendered in blue, white, and black—the Tiffany colors. Ultimately the Morrow Publisher chose a drawing of the store itself, and then a late addition was the 57th Street and 5th Avenue sign. I liked how that sign immediately told readers they stood before Tiffany's flagship store. I've since heard from readers that many bought the book for the cover alone.
"But while I was very happy with my hardcover jacket, I was very excited for the chance for a new concept for the trade paperback jacket. While I saw an early idea from the Avon A team that had a preppy striped style to it and again included an illustration of a girl, my editor Jennifer Pooley and I asked if we might take a step away from that art direction and offered some ideas. The team at Avon A was very receptive to those, and told me they wanted to create a cover that I absolutely loved.
"What I loved about my new jacket was the immediate time machine to the 1940s—the cars, the Checker Cab on the corner, the policeman in the left-hand center of the photograph—I felt like I was there again. I also adored that I could see both entrances to Tiffany, the Fifth Avenue and the 57th Street entrance—where Marty and I had once hoped to see the Duke and Duchess of Windsor enter (after visiting Mainbocher's studio next door). I also love that the paperback jacket shows all seven floors of Tiffany since as summer pages we became familiar with departments far beyond the three sales floors, running errands to floors designated for repairs and shipping, and even taking Tiffany's secret elevator to the Pearl and Diamond room.
"Something special that unites both covers is the representation of Tiffany's Atlas Clock, which for me is a symbol representing the timeless quality of Tiffany & Co. (the store is 173 years old but the clock was commissioned in the 1850s). The nine-foot torso of Atlas was carved by John Frederick Metzler, a friend of Charles Lewis Tiffany, and the timepiece itself was quite fittingly created by Tiffany's (there is a legend that the clock once stopped at the exact hour Lincoln died, 7:22 AM on April 15,1865). I love the history of the clock, and that generations have set their time to it for over 150 years and can continue to do so.
"Tiffany and its iconic address at 57th Street and Fifth Avenue is illustrated instantly by both covers. I am filled with admiration for both art directors for their work, and am so grateful their talents have introduced my book to so many readers, something I never could have imagined when I began to write my story for my family. To this day, each time I look at the book jackets for Summer at Tiffany, I wish I could go right through that revolving door and back in time to the summer of 1945."
Thank you, Marjorie! I love the nostalgia in these gorgeous covers. I actually think I love the paperback even more, especially because of the bow. What do you guys think?
Melissa Walker is the author of four Young Adult novels, including the Violet trilogy and Lovestruck Summer. She is co-creator of the popular teen newsletter I Heart Daily and the new awkward-stage blog Before You Were Hot. Her author blog, where Cover Stories originated, is melissacwalker.com.
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