Reed Krakoff, executive creative director of Coach for fifteen years and now the designer of his very own eponymous label, is the subject of a lengthy profile in this week's New Yorker. In addition to debunking several myths about Krakoff (Martha Stewart actually didn't cater his bar mitzvah, as she claimed in October), reporter Ariel Levy describes the bathroom fixtures in his New York residence, the timbre of his wife Delphine's voice, and how he manages the $4 billion "accessories behemoth" that is Coach.
Other highlights from the story:
1. Krakoff's house is so fancy that Jonathan Adler described its interior as "some next-level shit."
When you enter the living room, you are confronted with an Alexander Calder mobile floating above the mantelpiece, a massive black Louise Nevelson sculpture along one wall, a bronze Jean Arp parked on an end table, and, underfoot, two-hundred-year-old floorboards from France. The ground-floor bathroom is covered entirely in golden snakeskin and contains a spheroid toilet more stunning than anything the vast majority of the population will ever own.
2. Krakoff's wife, Delphine, wears only his designs and sometimes sounds funny when she talks.
Delphine was carrying an ostrich-skin bag from Krakoff's line, and I asked if she'd worn Coach bags before her husband developed his own label. "It's basic respect!" she cried. Her voice sounds touched by helium, as though all the energy inside her were pushing it up a register. "I wasn't going to walk around wearing other people's bags. It's like biting the hand that feeds you!" Krakoff, who had his arm around his wife's shoulder, gave her a little squeeze.
3. According to Krakoff's mother, his bar mitzvah was not catered by Martha Stewart, as she claims.
Sandra Krakoff, an inveterate opponent of historical revisionism, said this wasn't the case. "[Martha Stewart] catered for me personally, for our family, but not for that," Mrs. Krakoff said. "It was at Aspetuck Valley Country Club, and they did the catering." (This is not to suggest it was an informal affair; Aspetuck Valley's Web site specifies that trim on tennis whites is permissible only if it is "merely a touch of color.")
4. His mom also contradicted Krakoff's claims that he'd been kicked out of boarding school for having, among other things, "a great bong closet."
Krakoff attended Taft, a bording school in Watertown, Connecticut, but got "kicked out for a laundry list of reasons," he said. "I went skateboarding a lot and never studied. I didn't like the furniture in my room, so I got rid of it. I was always having people over -- we had a great bong closet with black lights. Even then, I was a decorator, I guess." ("He wasn't really kicked out," Sandra Krakoff said. "I think he's romanticizing it.")
5. Krakoff has very strong feelings for his wife.
"I always want to be with her," Krakoff continued. "I call her all day, every day, and e-mail her. I mean, today I probably talked to her five times." Krakoff told me earlier that he cannot bear to think of his wife's past boyfriends -- even from her teen-age years in Paris. "She's my princess," he said, "and I don't want anyone else ever to have had her."
6. Everyone was mean to him when he was first hired at Coach (except for Delphine, who started working there shortly before he did).
[Krakoff said,] "When I first met Delphine, she called me master."
"I called you sir," Delphine yelped. "I had manners! I came from a culture where the designer is something and you stand up when he walks by." She had worked for Christian Dior in Paris before joining Coach.
"She came up to me and said, 'Excuse me, sir'..."
"Because everybody was so mean to you," Delphine interjected.
"Nobody liked having a kid for a boss," Krakoff said, remembering his first unpleasant months at Coach.
Brand-new Bag [NYer]