As if he hasn’t done enough to mold the fashion universe already, Reed Krakoff has opened his own boutique on Madison Avenue called—appropriately—Reed Krakoff. The executive creative director and brand president of Coach, and the brains behind the company’s turnaround, as well as its ad campaigns over the last few years, Krakoff has taken to the design table with his own collection. Showcased in his new boutique, the line made its debut on Tuesday on New York’s most fashionable strip.
It is a competitive strip, and on top of his opening, Krakoff will be showing next week at New York’s Fashion Week, which kicks off today at its new home at Lincoln Center. Setting up shop on the Upper East Side—between 68th and 69th streets, to be precise—is no mean feat. Name the fashion company, whether American or international, and it’s there, from lesser-knowns such as Malo and Mulberry to the biggest names, such as Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrerra, YSL and Valentino. The shop lies in Manhattan’s toniest neighborhood, which means that despite the surely voluminous per-square-foot rent, there is the surrounding population with the means to support such a lifestyle. Already, one can spy luscious coats and handbags in the windows, and a collection that is sure to continue the legacy the designer is already starting to build.
Krakoff has been lauded over the past half-dozen years for taking a staid but classic brand and upping its ante, tweaking it just enough to increase its sex appeal, and thus its profits. His recognized genius, and ability to take ideas and run with them, has had a great impact on the 69-year-old house (known best for its handbags and leather goods). Even the most casual observer of fashion can see the difference.
During the summer of 2007, Coach launched its first perfume and Krakoff shot the ad campaign (he is an avid photographer, along with being a trained fashion designer). To pull it all off, he recruited numerous Hollywood starlets—China Chow, Elisha Cuthbert, Olivia Wilde, Gretchen Mol, Monet Mazur—and shot them scantily clad while toying with the fragrance in one way or another. The whole thing was then laid out in black and white. It was a raging success. His previous and subsequent ad campaigns have depicted bathing beauties in flowered swim caps in and out of the pool, or skipping across a green lawn in the Hamptons. The imagery was fresh and happy and enticing—just the shot in the arm that Coach needed.
Now, Krakoff turns the lens on himself. His new collection for fall 2010 is city chic at its best. Think big coats—most shearling-style —you can wrap yourself in, with slouchy sweaters underneath, lapels of yesteryear and long, scrunched-up gloves. Also featured are great shorts and easy modern dresses with low-slung belts, and totally sheer dresses with double-knit sections covering the right areas.
Short over long seems to be the theme, as well as full-legged pants and fur—lots of it—seen on long vests, on shoes, layered onto the front of sweaters, and used for funnel-necked finishes or as standalone pieces. It is one of the most wearable, yet fashion-forward, collections seen in a long time and is sure to make the new digs on Madison Avenue a regular stop in no time.