Reed Krakoff is getting into the Tiffany & Co. groove.
Krakoff — who began his new role as the jeweler’s chief artistic officer on February 1 — had taken a break Wednesday evening to attend a VIP preview of the 2017 Whitney Biennial, for which Tiffany serves as a major sponsor.
The designer said he has kept busy in the last six weeks — visiting Tiffany’s various manufacturing hubs, learning the brand’s technical aptitude and devising a creative blueprint for the firm.
“I’ve been to Padua to work on sterling, I’ve been to Murano, to Vermont actually, to work with a ceramic and glass company, hand-blown and hand-formed. We are working with Wedgwood on home products, and internally there is an incredible amount of technical ability — it’s just limitless, it’s really a dream,” Krakoff said of learning the ropes.
Shedding an early light on his vision for the label, he said: “It’s really breathtaking, the amount of capability, not just creatively but technically. I think it’s unheard of in this country, frankly, a brand that can bring both to the market in a meaningful way.
“I don’t think people realize it — we are making real things with a wholehearted, artisanal, hand-wrought quality. In a funny way, I don’t think it’s informing the work as much as it could and I don’t think the consumer is as aware of it in the way they could [be].”
Krakoff feels that it is not enough, in today’s market, to simply project an image of craftsmanship. “It’s not about the old story of quality and craftsmanship. It’s really craftsmanship and artisanship to bring about modern design. Quality really has to be fused with a modern eye, which is what Tiffany really stood for, for years. So you know it’s really been an incredible experience [thus far], I really love going to work.”
Krakoff addressed his lack of prior experience in the fine jewelry arena. He considers this to be a positive attribute in his new role.“I had done a lot of sterling, but I hadn’t done much fine. I always worked in jewelry in one format or another but in a more casual sense. In a way that can be good — to not be so entrenched in a discipline. You don’t run into the [creative] roadblocks you might otherwise.
“I have so many amazing partners, who are so incredibly technical and capable, so [for me] it really becomes more about color, shape design, proportion, material — it’s a great blend to have these amazing partners support me on the more technical aspects.”