Reed Krakoff is launching his eponymous brand with a major statement — an 1,800-square-foot flagship at 831 Madison Avenue here, just north of 69th Street and across the street from upscale luxury and fashion houses such as Cartier, Gucci and Chloé.
Today, Krakoff officially will open the doors to the boutique, and from the interior to the merchandise, shoppers will be served the brand’s DNA in a clear, succinct manner. The store offers his complete launch collection, from the utilitarian sportswear he presented during New York Fashion Week in February to his luxury leather handbags and shoes, his graphic wood and silver jewelry, the oversize sunglasses and the Swiss-made watches.
It’s not every day a designer can afford to launch a brand with a complete collection of sportswear and accessories as well as retail units in some of the world’s toniest neighborhoods, but Krakoff isn’t your typical fashion newcomer. He is also president and executive creative director of Coach, which owns the Reed Krakoff brand and is funding its growth.
In the past, Krakoff has described his role at Coach as a brand architect, which becomes clear when he discusses his new boutique, which presents a holistic vision of the brand.
“Particularly in the early years, it’s important to control the brand and its message,” Krakoff said. “With the Internet and the constant flow of information, you need to be able to control your destiny and brand imagery, and to be able to try out different things and learn from the experience.”
On an exclusive walk-through on Friday, Krakoff explained he was striving for a balance between architectural elements and a warm sensuality that will make shoppers feel comfortable enough to want to spend time in the store. While Krakoff has an affinity for architecture and industrial design, he deliberately steered away from making it the dominant aspect of the 1,500-square-foot selling space. “Often, stores can be too much about the design, or they can be too residential that it can seem mundane,” he said.
The Prada-owned Miu Miu once occupied this space, but there are no remnants of its previous incarnation. Krakoff worked on the store concept with his wife, Delphine, resulting in a modernist retail environment loosely reminiscent of Le Corbusier’s work.
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