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NEW YORK — After more than a decade of working with contemporary artists and collecting their work, Coach president and executive creative director Reed Krakoff is collaborating with artist Kiki Smith to make a limited-edition Coach tote.
Krakoff and Smith, who combined to produce a handbag in May, created an ecru tote made of unprimed artist’s canvas decorated with Smith’s signature intricately sketched butterflies, birds and constellations trimmed in gunmetal snakeskin.
The company made a limited run of 100 bags that will retail for $1,300 each at the Whitney Museum of American Art here starting this week in conjunction with Smith’s retrospective at the museum, “Kiki Smith: A Gathering, 1980-2005″ that opened Sunday and runs through Feb. 11.
“When we do collaborations like this it doesn’t start as something commercial, but it always leads me to a place or an idea I can use in a collection,” said Krakoff, who received one of Smith’s drawings as a gift some years ago and has his eye on two additional Smith works that he’s hoping to acquire in the next couple of years. “Her work is so special and so desirable. You don’t see it on the market much.”
Smith said accessories are “a great way to play out your personal life in public,” adding that the snakeskin trim was added at Krakoff’s suggestion and although she is a vegetarian, she loves it.
“That part is his responsibility,” she joked.
Although Krakoff appreciates art from all time periods, right now he is interested in the works of Laurie Simmons, Marc Newson and Ron Arad — and he is game for intermingling them in his work at Coach.