Saks and Reed Krakoff part ways, Krakoff leaves Boston - for now.
Between winter storms and winter sales, the Reed Krakoff concession inside Saks Fifth Avenue at the Prudential Center quietly packed up its iconic Boxer Bags on January 30th, after three years in the space. After some rotation (Stella McCartney and Céline both briefly occupied the former Krakoff spot), a Givenchy shop-in-shop has settled in.
The closing reflects a label-wide restructuring plan, which has resulted in a revolving door of executives, and a busy couple of years for the brand’s namesake founder. In September 2013, Mr. Krakoff left Coach, buying out his eponymous brand from its parent company for a cool $50 million. Last month, the search for a new CEO, a post which Mr. Krakoff himself stepped in to fill temporarily, led to Harlan Bratcher, formerly of Armani Exchange.
Then, earlier this month, Reed Krakoff announced it would be suspending operations as it continues to restructure. The brand is said to be shuttering all brick and mortar locations, including all of its seventeen concessions at Saks Fifth Avenue stores nationwide, but reps declined to comment. The brand's newly-opened full-line store in SoHo, as well as its outlet, will remain open amid the restructuring.
Bags, shoes and RTW from the five-year-old American brand will continue to be available through retailers like Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Net-a-Porter for now.
When Reed Krakoff does restart production and introduce a new collection, it will be much more wallet-friendly (pun intended) than before. Under Bratcher, the brand will focus more aggressively on accessories at what a spokesman for the brand calls “entry-level” luxury - $500-$800. (Notably below Céline's Trapeze tote, which starts at $2050, and about half of the cost of most currenty-available Reed Krakoff bags.)
So for now, we wait. Or head to SoHo - that's the closest to home Bostonians will be able to get their RK fix. The designer, who attended Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, has a strong connection to Beantown; his parents lived and worked here, and his eldest daughter currently attends college in Boston, meaning Krakoff was not an unfamiliar sight at the former Saks space, where he would often stop by to inspect his wares and chat with staff.
And, who can forget the parties? Last April’s BCRF fundraiser saw Boston’s glitterati turn out to rub elbows with the namesake designer. Bags, shoes and clothing flew off the shelves, raising upwards of $6,000 for the foundation, and Krakoff happily autographed purchases.
If Reed Krakoff does open again in Boston, the planned smaller price tag could allow the brand to reestablish itself among former Saks clientele while courting the city's new luxury shoppers - young professionals who are looking to snap up investment pieces at a more budget-friendly price point.