Having acquired control of his namesake business from Coach earlier this year, Reed Krakoff had a shiny new headquarters to show off at his Pre-Fall appointments today. If not a new beginning per se, the collection marked a turning point. The clothes had a confidence about them, as well as a sense of purpose.
Krakoff turned around Coach's fortunes during his tenure, but he hasn't been immune to beginner's challenges since launching his own company four years ago, chief among them a tendency to overdesign. In previous seasons, sports-influenced clothes might've had too much of a gym slouch about them, or gauzy slipdresses weren't substantial enough for a cocktail affair. Now, though, he has a firmer handle on exactly whom he's designing for. His client is an urban career woman with money to spend on her office clothes, along with the occasional party dress. "We're exploring fewer ideas, in a deeper way," is how Krakoff explained his approach this season. In essence, he's fusing masculine pieces, like the button-down shirt and overcoat, with more overtly feminine touches, like ruching and Fortuny pleating.
There was a compelling simplicity about a ruched-front sleeveless sheath and a trompe l'oeil tweed coat tossed across its shoulders. Coats were a strong suit, be it a sleeveless style worn over a pony-hair-and-leather layering vest, a structured cashmere topper with strong shoulders, or a more softly tailored style with the ease and informality of a cardigan. His sweaters, too, looked great. Lots of building blocks here for a strong Fall collection come February.