Newsletters  | Mobile

Travel Diary: Reed Krakoff from Coach

Tommaso Sartori

Photo: Tommaso Sartori

Thanks to Reed Krakoff, president and executive creative director of Coach for the past five years, the venerable luggage company has undergone a major reinvention. This year marks Coach's 60th anniversary, and Krakoff has been busy designing everything from a newly launched jewelry collection to a line of clothing essentials in leather, suede, and cashmere. Besides his visits to Coach's studio in Florence, Krakoff travels constantly, finding inspiration all the while. Travel + Leisure checked in to learn his travel secrets.

Flying I love it. I bring 50 magazines—home, fashion, food, travel—and tear through them, leaving the remains on the plane when we land. I also sketch a lot and watch movies. It's like a little adventure each time. In a really naïve way, I'm still excited by the prospect of traveling.

Hotel Surprises When I was 21, my boss sent me on my first business trip with about two hours' notice, because she couldn't go herself. I was overjoyed to be going to Paris. I even stayed in her hotel room at the Plaza Athénée. I had no idea the mini-bar items were so expensive, and I went crazy. The bill—for my snacks alone—was $500, and I had to pay for it when I got home. Now I never use the mini-bar; I just bring my own water and wine. But I still stay at the Plaza Athénée.

Packing Light I always pack twice. I go over everything and ask myself, "Will I really wear that?" It cuts what I take in half. And honestly, it's not as if when you're in Paris, Florence, or London you can't buy something to wear.

Shades of Gray If I have an event or a dinner to go to, I'll pack a suit and then wear the pants separately. I just take the things I've worn recently. With any luck, they'll have been cleaned in the interim. And I pack clothes only in blue, black, gray, khaki, or white. It's boring, but it works.

Fancy Footwork I always bring sneakers. It's amazing how acceptable they've become. For a while, Nike's Presto—the ones that come in small, medium, large, and extra-large—were in. Now it's a new Nike slip-on called the Rufus II. I've also designed a travel sneaker called the Transatlantic. It's a hybrid sneaker-shoe in black nylon with leather trim. That's all I wear now.

Luggage Triangle I don't check anything, especially when I'm going to Florence. Often, you'll make the connection in Paris but your luggage won't.

Room with a View I love the Savoy in Florence—it faces the Piazza della Repubblica. It's a little bit noisy, but I like being in the middle of the city where it's all happening.

Impulse Buying In Florence, not too long ago, I bought a suit an hour before I had to be at a dinner. The shop was tailoring the pants, and the concierge had someone pick them up while I got ready at the hotel. Only in Florence could you buy a suit, have it altered, and be wearing it in an hour.

Jet Lag At around 3 p.m. on the day I arrive in Florence, I'm lying flat on the floor of the design studio, asking people to bring me things. Espresso is a must to battle jet lag. I order one when I get off the plane and one when I get to the studio, and after that I'm more than ready to go.

Fashion Plates In Florence I always eat at Quattro Leoni [1R Via Vellutini; 39-055/218-562]. The crowd is a great mix of Florentines and New York fashion people. And the outdoor seating area spills into the most picturesque piazza. It's the perfect place to linger after dinner.


Sign Up

Connect With Travel + Leisure
  • Travel+Leisure
  • Tablet
  • Available devices

Already a subscriber?
Get FREE ACCESS to the digital edition