Reed Krakoff has brought a breath of fresh air to Tiffany & Co. since becoming Chief Artistic Officer last year “It’s about creating things that people fall in love with,” he told Peter Zewet in an interview in Hong Kong.
Since being appointed by Tiffany & Co. as Chief Artistic Officer in February in 2017, Reed Krakoff has injected much excitement and a breath of fresh air into the 181-year-old luxury house. An American designer with over 25 years of experience in the industry, Krakoff is in top form. He started his career with classic American design houses, such as Anne Klein and Ralph Lauren, after receiving his degree from Parsons in New York. He became known throughout the industry for his 16 years with another American brand, Coach, where he was President and Executive Creative Director. Krakoff revamped Coach’s image, driving its annual sales from US$500 million to US$5 billion.
Krakoff’s contributions to the fashion industry have been recognised with such distinctions as being elected a Vice President of the CFDA in 2007. He has been honoured three times by the CFDA and received awards from The Accessories Council. A patron of the arts, he was honoured with the Whitney Museum of American Art Award in 2013.
Excerpts from an interview:
How did the Paper Flowers fine jewellery collection come about?
We started by thinking of iconic motifs of Tiffany & Co., as seen in the archives since the 1800s to the turn of the century to today. It is a good starting point for the idea of taking something from the past and creating something for the future.
The flower, an Iris, was from a drawing I found in the archives. But rather than an actual flower, we wanted create the idea of a flower through an abstract play of shapes. Hence the name Paper Flowers; a combination of flower which is of nature with paper which is man-made. The colours in the collection also come from the iris with blues and purples, from sapphires and tanzanite, a gemstone that Tiffany introduced to the world in 1968; and white and yellow, from the diamonds for which Tiffany is famous. For this collection, we use a combination of different cuts and new setting techniques.
For the Paper Flowers collection, I was determined not to make it formal. For me, the idea is that formality doesn’t equal luxury. With Paper Flowers, I wanted to create diamonds jewellery that can be worn everyday, anytime, not just for an evening out but while doing daily chores. It is a diamond jewellery collection that is part of your daily wardrobe.
Do you design for a certain kind of woman?
I don’t think so. I am more inspired by the spirit of people – their youthfulness and spontaneity. It is not about age, young or old, but more about personality, someone with a strong sense of personal style.
Do you consider the millenials’ market when designing?
To be honest, I don’t think of a specific target group of people when I design. It is all about creating exciting pieces that makes people fall in love with. I think everybody wants to feel young, everybody want to be fashionable, regardless. The Paper Flowers collection goes from high jewellery to more day jewellery, like the firefly pendants made from white and yellow diamonds. So that are big pieces and smaller pieces that appeal to a bigger market, including the younger ones, like the millenials, where personal self-expression is important. Tiffany is also socially responsible in our production and resourcing of materials, and that is something that is important to the younger generation.
Tell us about the Blue Book collection.
It serves as a laboratory for developing groundbreaking concepts that will one day make their way into new collections. It is where we have the most time and the best resources for creative experimentation and new ideas to begin. Our 2018 Blue Book collection, The Four Seasons of Tiffany, highlights new innovations in gem-cutting and setting. Using the best materials, some of the one-of-a-kind pieces in the Blue Book collection took more than a year to finish. It is a place to dream about the most luxurious jewellery.
What is your vision for Tiffany & Co. going forward?
My main goal is to redefine high jewellery – what it means today. It’s the idea of having something as everyday luxury. Tiffany & Co. is about that American luxury which is effortless and modern.