Reed Krakoff Gestures a Modern Romance with Tiffany & Love

Reed Krakoff unravels the complexities of creating a fragrance to settle into the core ideas of what love is all about. V discuss.

There’s nothing like falling in love in New York. Just when you think you can walk through New York with your eyes closed, you find someone special to get lost with you all over again. Together you discover a new street, a shop, a candy store. You giggle over inside jokes as strangers walk past on the street. In a party, you lock eyes and give each other a wink as a sign that you’re still in sync while standing on the opposite ends of the room. Everything and everyone becomes white noise.

Maybe you met your lover in the spring/summer as you shed layers, or the fall, bracing a brisk wind. And now it’s winter. Cuddle close under soft sheets as the winter sun graze your bodies in bed. The Bialetti is on the stove. As you make love, the coffee whispers and whines reminding you that it’s time to get ready for work. Your boss caught onto your white lies in the morning as you try to explain that you’re late due to train delays… again. The simple yet sweetest beginning become the foundation that opens your heart to forgive them for their… messy desk, unwashed dishes and indecisiveness. 

We grow up looking forward to meeting the love of our lives and seal the deal with the iconic Tiffany blue box. A symbol of commitment and possibilities with Prince Charming. But does he exist? And who needs a fairy tale wedding when there’s city hall? Why not throw a dance party and invite ALL of your friends and ditch the guest list with aunts and uncles you’ve never met. Do you really want to drop over $100,000 for food, flowers, live band for that princess drone footage? It just seems so… passé. Who do you love and how do you love. Clean, concise, with subliminal discoveries along the way. Tiffany & Co’s Chief Artistic Officer, Reed Krakoff simplifies love to its most elemental with their latest fragrance, Tiffany & Love for him and her.

Below, V discuss how he defines the shape of love in our times.

STELLA PAK: What is modern love to you?

REED KRAKOFF: The concept was the counterpoint to our traditional heritage as the place where people have come for so many years and from all over the world to celebrate commitment and love which is the original Tiffany setting. Tiffany & Love is really the representation of modern love today. Which really is much more diversified. Much more personal. Much less prescriptive. It’s more about people deciding for themselves. What that means to them. This is the other end of the spectrum. As Tiffany is the leader of how people express those ideas of commitment and love, it felt like the right time to do that.

SP: A nice evolution from tradition. As the Chief Artistic officer, I wonder how do you merge visual creativity and tactile creativity to something as intangible as scent?

RK: I think it’s entirely intuitive. It’s so personal to each person. When I’m in the room with perfumers, what you smell triggers, what memories it reminds you of or places you’ve been. I think you have to follow your instinct and with something in mind of what you’re trying to accomplish. So for this, it needed to be something that had a sensuality to it, a warmth to it. But at the same time, a surprise and an irreverence. And then you start smelling things, combining things, it starts to take shape. It’s really kind of an organic thing. 

SP: What was that process collaborating with perfumers, taking this idea?

RK: It’s an amazing process because it’s something that is so ephemeral. You know, there are so many interpretations of what you think you’re asking for and what they think you’re asking for. It’s quite subjective. A lot of it is just trying many different things. And many different single notes. And then those notes become combined in different ways and every time you combine it, they change. It’s a lot of building up from the base core notes of the fragrance and adding to create something unique. That feels like in some way it represents what you’re trying to communicate. 

SP: The packaging is quite a departure from the classic Tiffany & Co with its jewel-like quality and beveled edges. The bold ampersand treatment.

RK: The first fragrance is an institutional fragrance. The trick for this fragrance that it was worthy of a packaging. It’s not something you want to redesign. You don’t want to do much because It is so perfect in what it is. The idea of the round box was really triggered by the simplicity of the first box so they can live together. They are very elemental and you understand what they are right away. So some was driven by differentiation and some was driven by this kind of sensuality of this circular packaging. And the bottle itself – the pared-down bottle was this desire to communicate this artisanal hand-drawn fragrance. The simplicity came from these apothecary bottles that were utilitarian for the fragrance. And the idea of the ampersand and the isolation of that really became the centerpiece about two people. So that really became something that felt strong enough to stand on its own. Almost more impactful. Just to be simple. The top of the bottle, the collar, again, going back to that authenticity is etched with 3 notes of each fragrance. To communicate that simplicity and multiplicity of a handmade fragrance. It’s a combination of very specific quality, craftsmanship and forever but at the same time something that feels modern, sculptural and sensual. The last piece of it was the name. The love. It was something that was added quite late. It always ends up getting done. If something’s not right, you know it. And you carry it around for a while and just keep going back to it and eventually, it settles in itself. So the ampersand is the beginning but the handwritten slash… just felt like it needed something surprising. Something that was provocative in some way and felt personal.

SP: This is the debut for Tiffany’s men’s fragrance. What was it like to interpret a masculine scent through a brand that’s known for its femininity?

RK: Well, half of the customers are men. I should say as an aside is a counterpoint to the women’s. Women wear the man’s, men wear women’s. It goes both ways. In that way to talk about it as a men’s fragrance. It really is that combination of refinement. Unstudied. Natural, but not light. Not too heavy. But something that has a richness and complexity to it that felt unique and felt that really have that quality. There’s something in that fragrance you know has quality. When something has depth and complexity. Something that is substantial but something that isn’t overly perfumey or aggressive. 

SP: Mark Ronson and King Princess – V’s cover stars for V and VMAN are on the soundtrack for the video campaign. What about them resonates?

RK: I had wanted to work with Mark Ronson before but the timing never worked. And finally, he was available. We wanted to take a classic song but it needed a new treatment. It needed to feel modern and of today. It was a great proxy for the fragrance. Where we have something classic and heritage and we have something super modern and have a new take on that. We thought he was the perfect person to deliver that. And he really led us to King Princess. It happened fairly quickly.

SP: The campaign has the New York city tone and texture. Do you think New York has the greatest love stories?

RK: It’s really meant to be an abstraction of a place. Obviously, New York is the home of Tiffanys. There’s a strong New York element with Tiffany. New York is a place that’s always changing. It’s a place of so many people who come to and from but many, many, many, many places in the world have stories too.

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