Reed Krakoff Suspends Operations And Plans Madison Avenue Closure To Reposition Label
March 13, 2015
Five years ago designer Reed Krakoff launched his own label in the most lavish way possible with an opulent Madison Avenue boutique and a few others around the world. It was an ambitious kickoff for the designer looking to migrate from the contemporary world, where he had turned Coach into a big-volume department store mainstay, to the more exalted and exclusive designer world, and it was not without its glitches. Critics gave his first runway shows lukewarm responses, and then Critical Shopper Cintra Wilson pulled no punches in her assessment of his store and collection in The New York Times. Deep pocketed backing came from his bosses at Coach, and after a couple of years, Krakoff seemed to settle in more comfortably with in-store shops in stores like Saks, celebrities supporting him on the red carpet and a second New York boutique in SoHo that opened last Fall. Things seemed to be looking up, but now Krakoff is no longer enjoying the backing of his former employer. Several weeks ago, he announced that he would not show ready-to-wear at New York Fashion Week because he was planning on transitioning his designer level accessory collection to the "Affordable Luxury" category, an oxymoronic moniker he actually coined to describe his collections for Coach which is having its own challenges at the moment as well. Retreating back to his commercial comfort zone (at least commercially if not aesthetically) seemed to be a smart move that signaled an end to his attempt to launch a fully formed luxury brand, but yesterday Krakoff announced that he would suspend operations entirely as he repositions his brand and gets his company back on track. To that end, Krakoff will shutter all of his stores including Madison Avenue (pictured above) except for the new SoHo location and the Woodbury Commons outlet. His e-commerce site will remain operational as well. WWD reports that there is still enough merchandise in the company to support the two remaining stores, but the goal at the moment is to find a new investor to invest in the company while it plans new, less expensive lines. So Krakoff is down, but not out just yet. Other designers have come back from worse, and he is smart enough that he is likely to come out just fine, but he may serve as a cautionary example of how not to launch a luxury brand.