Tiffany & Co. is shaking up its creative ranks, naming Reed Krakoff as chief artistic officer, effective February 1.
Current design director Francesca Amfitheatrof will step down, leaving the jeweler “to pursue other opportunities,” according to a release issued by Tiffany this morning. She joined the brand in 2013 with expectations that she would bring a younger touch to some of the iconic company’s collections. Amfitheatrof became the design face of the brand, hosting events and giving magazine interviews as it attempted to attract a younger customer. But there has been speculation over the last few months that many of Amfitheatrof’s collections failed to perform strongly at retail.
Indications that Tiffany may have been hedging its bets on Amfitheatrof came last July when the company tapped well-known Krakoff as a creative collaborator tasked with designing home furnishings and accessories – with the first results scheduled to debut for the 2017 holiday season.
Now in his new role, Krakoff will lead design of the jewelry and luxury accessory categories, “and lead the brand’s overarching artistic and design vision with respect to stores, e-commerce, marketing and advertising,” said the statement.
“Reed’s extraordinary talent and deep understanding of iconic American design, and Tiffany’s defining role in its legacy, make him poised for great success in this new position. His expertise and creativity will continue to help build Tiffany as a global house of luxury,” said chief executive officer Frederic Cumenal.
Said Krakoff of his appointment: “I’m honored to join Tiffany as chief artistic officer and fully dedicate my creative focus to this storied American luxury brand. The exceptional opportunity to further Tiffany’s riche creative legacy of design and craftsmanship, and join the incredible talent within Tiffany, is truly inspiring.”
The initial tie-up with Tiffany was Krakoff’s first major step since closing his namesake brand in 2015. Prior to that he had long served as president and executive creative director for Coach – leaving the leathergoods house in 2014 to pursue his own label.
“I grew up with [Tiffany], it’s a brand that has a lot of strong emotional attachment, I have an emotional attachment. To be able to contribute to the heritage and history of a global brand that combines design, quality and craftsmanship is really rare today and I think Tiffany is a leader in that. To be part of that is really exciting to me,” Krakoff said over the summer.
At the time, he categorized his intentions for the jeweler as mashup of classic Tiffany design and personal aesthetic influences: “It’s going to be an amalgamation of historical Tiffany icons and my own modernist taste, and looking at that through a lens of how things are made, of quality, craftsmanship.”
The company saw improvements in profits and sales in the third quarter but remained cautious on its outlook for the year. One of the problem areas is the U.S., where in the third quarter there was a smaller sales decline compared with earlier in the year. Overall, Tiffany expected a low single-digit sales decline for the year.
The company’s shares rose 1.7 percent in pre-market trading today to $81.92.