Intelligent Design: Reed Krakoff

Big-name modern furniture has pride of place at Reed Krakoff’s new fashion flagships.

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Intelligent Design: Reed Krakoff

Big-name modern furniture has pride of place at Reed Krakoff’s new fashion flagships.

Reed Krakoff believes in love at first sight—at least when it comes to furniture. Twenty-five years ago he came across a photo of Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne’s whimsical, sculptural creations and, he says, “even before I knew what it was, I fell in love with it.” The love affair has proved to be lasting but far from monogamous; Krakoff, the polymath president and executive creative director of Coach, has since lost his heart to a long list of modern design stars. His New York home is filled with an ever expanding furniture collection, and, an avid photographer, he has published four books on the subject. So clearly, when it came time to furnish the boutiques for his eponymous new fashion label, he wasn’t going to be satisfied with standard white Parsons tables and Emeco chairs. And a shopping spree at Moss wasn’t what he had in mind either. “We wanted to integrate modern design, but in a genuine way,” says Krakoff, perched on a low-slung gray sofa in his gray-walled Manhattan office. “It’s important that I’m not just taking something and plunking it down in a store. It has to feel like part of the bigger story.”

To that end, he sourced pieces from two of his favorite designers: Swiss-born, Paris-based Mattia Bonetti, whose oeuvre runs the gamut from futuristic to baroque, and Joris Laarman, a 30-year-old Dutchman known for his use of new technology to explore natural and biological themes. The works, many of which are original commissions, will rotate among the brand’s stores—the first two of which, in New York and Tokyo, open in August—and be mixed with furniture designed by Krakoff’s wife, Delphine. Going forward, additional talent will join the roster, including Ron Arad and Maarten Baas. Although the collection is aesthetically diverse (Laarman’s biomorphic Bone Chaise will share space with Bonetti’s sharp-edged Houston table), Krakoff sees all of the pieces as united by one quality: the ability to inspire desire. “If you have to explain to someone why they should want something, it’s probably not so good,” he says. “The reaction has to be emotional, and it has to be instantaneous. People want to be moved.”