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Travel Diary: Reed Krakoff from Coach

Tommaso Sartori

Photo: Tommaso Sartori

Local Color My favorite painting in the world is in a little church in Florence called Santa Fel’cita, on the south side of the Ponte Vecchio. It's The Deposition by Pontormo. The color is so exaggerated: the flesh tones are magenta, lilac, chartreuse. It looks so contemporary. I always stop in to admire it, even for just a minute. That kind of talent inspires me to go back to work.

Life Imitating Art My work is pretty much my life. I don't see a difference between sketching a handbag, going to Barneys, or seeing a Royère show at a museum. It's all about observing how people live and designing to fit their needs.

Artful Dining The Café Marly at the Louvre is the best. It looks out onto the I. M. Pei pyramid in the square. The interior was designed by Olivier Gagnaire, who's one of my favorite modern designers. It's not about the food. The mix of Louis XVI and modern décor makes it charming.

Period Pieces When I'm in London, I love to visit costume houses like Angels [119 Shaftesbury Ave.; 44-207/836-5678], near Piccadilly and the theater district. Their clothing archives go back 200 years. A lot of designers and movie costumers rent from them for inspiration.

Vintage Finds A few years ago I was on London's Portobello Road, thinking I was finding some great vintage pieces to bring back to the showroom. Then I heard the dealers talking about who was going to Cheap Jack's, on Broadway in New York, to buy more clothes. It was so funny—that store is only 20 blocks from my New York office.

Better Than Duty-Free The Clignancourt flea market in Paris is on the way to the airport. I try to book my flight home late enough so I have the morning to shop there and have lunch too. And since I'm going right home, I don't have to drag my purchases around for the whole trip.

Furniture Fetish At Drouot, the central auction house in France, they auction everything from wine to suits of armor. As soon as I get to Paris, I buy the weekly magazine called La Gazette de l'Hôtel Drouot at the newsstand. I've gotten a good bit of French furniture from the forties through Drouot. There's a whole movement of fashion people and architects who have started to collect pieces from that period. Sometimes, in magazine spreads of designers' homes, I recognize pieces from the galleries where I shop.

Shopping, Anyone? Luisa Via Roma [19—21R Via Roma; 39-055/217-826] in Florence is a men's and women's store that reminds me of what Charivari used to be in New York. It's this great mix of European and American designers. Gerard [18—20 Via Vacchereccia; 39-055/215-942] has a hip following for its eclectic mix of designers, too. Its owners have been around for as long as I've been going to Florence, and they're still cutting-edge.

Must-Buys In London, I always get port-flavored gummy bears called Wine Gums. I never go for the best chocolate; I go straight for the chocolate with the scenic pictures of Switzerland on the wrapping, or the chocolate Eiffel Towers.

REED KRAKOFF, Tome Traveler
I buy design books wherever I go, since I've already gone through the collections of the hotels where I stay. Here are some of my favorite bookshops around the world.

FLORENCE Messagerie has a comprehensive decorative-arts section, with a particular focus on Italian interiors, furniture, and fine arts. It's the kind of place where you can find five books on Giorgio Morandi. 68R Via Tornabuoni; 39-055/268-636.

PARIS Bibliothèque Forney, near the Centre Pompidou, is one of the best places for 20th-century European decorative-arts books. This is where a lot of American booksellers go to stock up. 1 Rue du Figuier; 33-1/42-78-14-60.

LONDON Foyles specializes in historical books, first editions, and collectibles. This store is like a perfect British library, with ladders and mahogany cases and floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. You feel as if you're in a Merchant Ivory film. 113—119 Charing Cross Rd.; 44-207/437-5660.

NEW YORK Ursus Books has every art book, monograph, and exhibition catalogue you can imagine. It's a great place to hang out—more like a library than a bookstore. 981 Madison Ave.; 212/772-8787.


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