Coach designer Reed Krakoff hosted Parsons's show for its graduating BFA class yesterday at Chelsea Piers, where he offered career tips to graduating designers. One, there tends to be plenty of jobs in accessories design, which most students tend not to go into, partly because it's tough to teach accessories design in school (making shoes requires certain equipment, for example), and fashion schools usually don't have accessories programs. He also stressed the importance of working for free — something he did for a year out of school at Anne Klein. Unpaid interns can "wait tables" on the side, he said, or maybe work in a store (he worked on the floor at the Valentino boutique on Madison). "When I was graduating there were less companies, but probably it was less competitive. Now there are many more companies in New York and around the world, but obviously it’s not a great economy and it’s more competitive," he added.
Krakoff, who oversees the giant Coach and his own rapidly expanding eponymous label, gives the impression of effortlessly maintaining a work-life balance. In his downtime, he works on his home, something made famous in the recent New Yorker profile of him (which he and his PR rep were pleased with, they said). Yet the golden-toilet-owning designer's favorite place for homewares in the city is not a secret repository of unconventional gold things that only rich people know about. "The flea market is still great on 26th Street," said Krakoff, who's been going there for ages. "A friend of mine found an original Saint Laurent sketch, another person found amazing Gres pieces, it’s more just decorative things. But the flea market’s great and, where else? It’s funny, I think online is the best now. Moss, I was just there Saturday — Moss is the best. It has an amazing design, things at every price point."
Still remarkably in love with his wife of eleven years, that New Yorker piece reported, Krakoff also offered advice for a happy marriage. You can shop at the flea market, it seems, but it helps to stay fancy. "I think what works is that you never get too comfortable, that you’re always, in a really simple fundamental way, you’re really crazy about the person," he said. "You should never let yourself go, don’t dress in a way that’s not — you take care of yourself, and you don’t think, ‘Oh we’ve been together a long time, we’re just going to wear sweats and, we’re just going to have dinner on the couch.’ I think that’s the way it dies, because it’s not special anymore. And I think you have to keep some mystery in the relationship, does that make sense?"