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Reed Krakoff Wants A Store You Can Touch

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It’s been a busy year for Reed Krakoff. He’s launched his line, added resort, and now is opening his eponymous label’s first store, on Madison Avenue, as well as its e-commerce shop. It promises to be the first of many. On the eve of its opening, Style.com checked in with Krakoff—who, in his spare time, presides over Coach, writes art monographs, and manages to keep up appearances on the social scene—about decor, design, and creating a luxury store you’re not afraid to shop in.
Reed Krakoff opens today at 831 Madison Ave., NYC, (212) 988-0560, www.reedkrakoff.com.


You’re something of a design connoisseur as well as a designer, and you were very involved with the design of the new store. What were you going for?
When we started out thinking about this store, I really wanted to create something that was different, but at the same time, create something that was timeless and iconic. So the challenges were to create something that felt modern and felt new, but at the same time didn’t feel trendy or overbearing in the space. And obviously, reflected the aesthetic of the brand. The brand itself has such a strong utilitarian, warm, modern aesthetic, and I really wanted to capture that in the store design. I would say that was the cornerstone.

What were the challenges?
One of the things that I really focused on was making sure that the store felt modern and luxurious and refined, not in a dusty way. Sometimes I think spaces can be overbearing and can make a woman feel somewhat intimidated in a space, that they don’t want to experience what you’re selling—they don’t want to come up and touch it and explore what the store really has to offer. That was one of the fundamental aspects of the space, to maintain the utilitarian, more modernist, luxurious aesthetic, but be approachable for the woman shopping in the space and not have her feel like, “I can’t touch that. I don’t want to take it off the shelf.” It looks like a beautiful still-life, but it needs to function as an environment where a woman wants to be in, and get to know the brand as well.

In terms of decor, you’ve commissioned pieces from designers you love and have collected—Mattia Bonetti, Joris Laarman, Maarten Baas. That’s unusual, no?
The idea was, instead of buying a piece of furniture that was modern at a gallery, the idea was to work directly with a designer, talk about the brand aesthetic, what the spaces felt like, then collaborate with them on pieces for the store. So all the objects and pieces were created uniquely for our stores and are in limited quantity.

Including pieces you designed yourself, in collaboration with your wife, Delphine.
My wife and I work on everything together. In terms of design, we’ve done a lot of interiors together, we’ve done furniture together….She is my fundamental muse in my own collection. We thought it would be fun if she created some pieces for the store, some limited-edition pieces, and really beautiful handmade objects. There’s a series of chairs and tables and stools that were inspired by people like Joseph Beuys, who have a quite modern and utilitarian aspect to their work but also a romantic, poetic kind of beauty. He took materials like industrial felt and zinc and oxidized copper and things, and infused them with something much more poetic and romantic and something quite sensitive. We created some pieces out of industrial felt and plywood and oak and those pieces have become pieces that will be used again throughout the stores as we start to open, as we start to build stores in different parts of the world.

Which brings us the whole world domination plan. You’re opening in New York now, in Tokyo and Las Vegas soon, and looking further after that. But why these three to start?
I think for each space, there is always a fundamental reason why we believe in that area. There’s a woman that is really excited about what we’re doing. The reality is that the right space comes available when it comes available. You can say, “These are the first three cities where I want to be in,” but there might not be the right space in two of those three, and you begin with your key. We thought about, “Well, we have to be in New York.”

Tokyo we felt very strongly about—it’s a geography where women love fashion. There’s a very strong consumer. Obviously Japan is perhaps not as dynamic an environment as it has been. It’s still extraordinarily large; it’s still the number two market in the world. So, we felt the product would really resonate well with that consumer, and we felt like it was an important place to be. The space that we found was just a really spectacular space. And again, it’s sort of like looking for a house. You want to be in this part of town, and you don’t find anything, but then you find a house that you love in another part of town. It’s all about finding a combination of the right location, the right building, the right adjacencies. In Tokyo, the adjacencies are quite amazing.

And Las Vegas was another interesting situation, because it’s a very busy environment, and it’s an environment where you can learn a lot about the consumer out there, and how they’re reacting, and what they love, and what they love less.


Photos: Courtesy of Reed Krakoff

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