Book List of the Week

Fashioning Art: Reed Krakoff’s Book List

By Steve Kroeter July 23, 2013

Reed Krakoff

Fashion designer Reed Krakoff: Reed Krakoff Collection (New York)

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Fashion designer Reed Krakoff—creative director of the Reed Krakoff Collection—is also a dedicated collector and patron of the arts and a noted photographer. He recently published his second book of photographs, Women in Art: Figures of Influence (Assouline), featuring the images and words of an international array of women who are leading contemporary art gallerists and curators. Designers & Books asked him to talk about the book and posed a few questions about his reading habits.

Cover of Women in Art: Figures of Influence by Reed Krakoff, 2013 (Assouline)

Designers & Books: In Women in Art you remind us that “throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first, women have fostered and advanced the careers of artists.” As examples, you cite “the tenacious women” behind Stuart David, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Marcel Duchamp, among others. Is there a woman (or women) who has “fostered and advanced” your career?

Reed Krakoff: My wife, Delphine, has supported and inspired me for almost a decade. She pushed me to start my own collection. My business partner, Valerie Hermann, encouraged me to develop the the Reed Krakoff Collection as a reflection of my aesthetic. Her belief in the business has brought it to the next level.

D&B: Everything about how the book is designed and produced draws attention to its “bookness”: The oversize format, the striking dust jacket, the choice of paper, the quality of the black-and-white images, the way the “art questionnaire” answers of the women are presented. What was the process for laying out and designing the book? Who was your team and how did you work with them?

RK: I began photographing the women before I knew the images would collectively turn into a book, but when I had the opportunity to collaborate with Assouline on this project, I knew I wanted the finished product to be beautiful. My team included many of the people I am lucky enough to have work on my brand with me everyday. It was a family effort.

D&B: In an interview for Gotham magazine you said, “One can never have too many books.” How many do you have? Do you consider yourself a book collector?

RK: I own many books, but actually have no idea of the exact number. I don’t consider myself a collector. I accumulate books to support my work and creative process.

Paris-based independent curator Caroline Bourgeois, featured in Women in Art. From her art questionnaire (p. 36): Q: “What is your favorite art book" A: “The first I read a long time ago, Portrait of Giacometti by Jean Genet.”

D&B: In Women in Art, curator Christine Kim says that her favorite art book is a copy of Lewis Mumford’s Art and Technics, marked up by Robert Motherwell that she found at the Strand. What’s the story you most like telling that is connected to a book you own?

RK: One year for Christmas, Delphine and I gave each other the same book as a gift. I think it may have been David Hicks: A Life of Design.

D&B: The women of influence in your book are from the highest echelons of the art world. How are they different from (or similar to) women in the highest echelons of the fashion world?

RK: In the art world one champions an artist or body of work. In the fashion world one champions a designer or collection. Both value creation, beauty, conceptualism, and the risk that the artist or designer takes by putting his or her work out.

D&B: This book of photographs is about refined women in the rarefied world of fine art. Your previous book of photographs was about the male gladiators of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). What are the similarities of the subjects of these two books, which on the surface would seem to be so very different?

RK: Figuratively and literally, they are champions of an art.

Rita Gonzalez and Christine Kim, associate curators of contemporary art at the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, featured in Women in Art

D&B: We saw some photos of your office. One of the noticeable things was that while you have lots of books and lots of bookshelves, all the bookshelves were bare with the books neatly piled on the floor. Is the floor your preferred method for organizing books?

RK: I have a traditional library at home that is more curated. In my office, I sit on the floor and go through books daily for inspiration. The books are more accessible this way. I’m constantly buying, giving away, and reordering books for my office.

D&B: Of the six books on your Designers & Books list, not a single one is about fashion. What’s your favorite fashion book?

RK: Any book by Irving Penn.

D&B: Also, there’s no fiction on your list. Are there any novelists you admire or that inspire you?

RK: I don’t often read fiction.

D&B: What about your next book? Can you tell us what you are working on—or thinking about?

RK: I am thinking about doing a book on or related to different types of performance. . .


All images courtesy of Reed Krakoff and Assouline.

Women in Art: Figures of Influence, written and photographed by Reed Krakoff, is available in standard and author-signed limited edition volumes now at


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