Always deeply attuned to both the pleasures and the challenges of creating the best in design, Reed Krakoff has forged a brilliant career. He transformed sleepy leather brand Coach into a most-wanted accessories mecca in the 2000s, launched his own fashion label in 2013, and became chief artistic officer of Tiffany & Co.—the first executive-level design position in the storied firm’s long history—a little more than a year ago. After introducing Everyday Objects, his home-accessories collection for the company, Krakoff recently unveiled his debut jewelry collection, Paper Flowers, a spirited, glamorous ensemble of petal-shaped pieces. With his French wife, Delphine, a sought-after interior designer, he has furnished residences for their young family with visual and decorative arts of the highest order. A photographer, collector, and curator, Krakoff brings a refined aesthetic to all he does. Here, he provides some insight into what drives him.
I studied painting when I was in school in Boston, and I still draw every day. I sketch on my iPad.
The people who inspire me right now are artists Allan McCollum, Elie Nadelman, and Henri Fantin-Latour, and designers Joris Laarman and the Bouroullec Brothers. The Bouroullecs created a site-specific installation for Delphine and me, Clouds, that has been reimagined in each space we’ve placed it. It takes on a new life each time.
I’m fascinated by materials such as concrete, plywood, industrial felt, Tiffany sterling silver, and sculptural marble resin. One of my favorite pieces is a cast marble resin armchair by Joris Laarman.
The new Tiffany & Co. design that best reflects my vision is the Sterling Silver Paper Cup, from my first Everyday Objects collection last year.
Every year I create a photo album for Delphine. They’re the perfect way to remember our family summers.
Taking my own photos has taught me how hard it is to get a great picture.
My best purchase at auction was also my first major art acquisition, a large Jean-Michel Basquiat oil stick on paper. I bought it for $750.
The five books every art/design library should have are Horst: Interiors, by Barbara Plumb; Claude & François-Xavier Lalanne, on which I collaborated; Martin Szekely, Elizabeth Lebovici’s deep dive into the designer’s furniture and objects; Le Corbusier: Le Grand, a real feat of design and research; and Jean-Michel Frank, Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier’s book about Frank’s role in Parisian high society in the Art Deco period.
My next personal project will be a modernist house on the ocean. It’s the first one Delphine and I are constructing from the ground up. There’s something special about being on the water, and we’re going to build a small house with a contemporary architect. I’ve been inspired by the work of a few, especially Thomas Phifer, who is doing a place for a friend of ours.
If I had a mantra, it would be “Work hard and don’t be a jerk.” Life doesn’t need to be overcomplicated.
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2018 Summer Issue under the headline Change Agent. Subscribe to the magazine.