Creative Chairman Reed Krakoff On His First Collection for John Hardy

Ushering in a new era for the legacy brand.

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One of the most recognized brands in jewelry, John Hardy, has just launched “Spear,” a collection that marks the dawning of a new era for this legendary brand. Reed Krakoff, famed fashion and accessories designer, who serves as the new Creative Chairman, sat down with Only Natural Diamonds to share an exclusive insight into Spear, his first directional collection for the brand. Krakoff, who began his career with Ralph Lauren and most famously was the Creative Director for Coach from 1996 to 2013, flexed his fine jewelry skills as Chief Artistic Officer at Tiffany & Co. before joining John Hardy in late 2022. 

Drawing from his celebrated aesthetic of elevated sophistication, Krakoff masterfully reinterprets the brand’s signature Icon assortment, ushering in a modernizing transformation that befits John Hardy’s storied legacy spanning nearly half a century. This remarkable collection draws inspiration from Balinese weaving, elevating the brand’s signature textures with a contemporary touch. Featuring natural diamond pavé accents, meticulously hand-wrapped 14k gold and sterling silver, and exquisitely textured chains that offer adjustability, the Spear collection is designed to grace the wrist, finger, or neck with a fusion of heritage and luxury. 

OND: How do you prepare to design new pieces for a brand with such a strong visual identity? 

Reed Krakoff: I’m very studied about immersing myself in all the brand’s past work and understanding its design DNA and what’s made it unique and coveted. Then, I look to create work that captures the spirit of the brand but through an evolved and modern lens. The best ideas and stories to tell come from the brand itself.

OND: Is it easier to create designs that fit an existing brand’s identity or your own designs with no brand identity constraints? 

RK: Both are hard for different reasons. To design for an existing brand, you have a foundation to build on with the challenge to balance the past with the current and what’s relevant to today. For my own brand, I need to create and identify, which is hard. But I don’t have the past to reconcile, so in many ways, it’s just as challenging. Regardless, if you love to design (and I do), creativity gets you to the right place.

OND: You’ve had an amazing career designing a lot more than fine jewelry. What sets fine jewelry apart from designing anything else?

RK: Without question, it’s the artistry, craftsmanship, and skill that goes into creating a piece of fine jewelry. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with the most talented artisans in the world.  Their ability to work with the most precious stones and metals and bring an idea to life is unparalleled. It’s sometimes delicate, and it’s sometimes industrial. But it’s always precise and takes an incredible hand.

OND: This first collection for John Hardy uses only natural diamonds. Why are natural diamonds the perfect gem to work with for you? 

RK: The authenticity and rarity of natural diamonds perfectly complement John Hardy’s core brand values and mirror our commitment to the specialness of artisanal work that makes each piece unique.

OND: What do you find so alluring about John Hardy’s aesthetic that makes you want to continue to push it forward?

RK: John Hardy has hundreds of artisans in our studios, and I have enormous respect for their passion and commitment to the design process and ethos. Their ability to make jewelry that is both authentic and forward-looking has been extremely inspiring.  Having such a solid foundation of core designs, the opportunity to interpret, modernize and create something beautiful is endless.

OND: What is your vision for the future of John Hardy?

RK: Artisanal excellence through the filter of modern design.