Krakoff seeks to meld utilitarian with feminine

JOCELYN NOVECK Associated Press Published:

NEW YORK (AP) -- Many designers have very specific themes or inspirations for their collections -- a painting, an ancient scroll, a mountain -- but Reed Krakoff finds all that a bit contrived. For him, it's a matter of a mood, or several moods, that he tries to explore.

At his fall runway show on Wednesday, Krakoff's "moods" were, he said, "utilitarian and functional, combined with fluidity, combined with sensuality."

The utilitarian part came via tailored coats and jackets, in colors of classic navy, charcoal and military green.

The feminine and sensual elements came in flowing skirts, an occasional silky dress -- like a black-and-ivory "liquid satin" frock -- or blouses that looked functional in front but were sheer, filmy and delicate at the back.

Krakoff has had a good start to 2013: Michelle Obama wore the designer's blue dress and cardigan at her husband's private swearing-in ceremony, the day before the inauguration. Then the next day, she wore his cardigan again.

"I was very lucky," he said. "It was a great honor. I knew we were in the running, but you never know until she comes out wearing it."

Perhaps Mrs. Obama's choice of a dark blue ensemble influenced his heavy use of navy in Wednesday's show, which was attended by actress Kyra Sedgwick and Vogue editor Anna Wintour: The first 10 outfits were all in that classic color.

"I've never done a collection in navy before," he said backstage. "Even though it's the color I wear myself every single day."