Saks will be the exclusive retailer of Coach's Reed Krakoff collection this fall, while WWD reports that JC Penney may start carrying its own Coach accessories line, though it allegedly won't be called Coach.
The Reed Krakoff collection will bow exclusively at Saks for six months and maintain a close partnership with the retailer after distribution widens to other outlets. WWD's report maintains, however, that JC Penney is said to be discussing a collaboration with Coach as well. After being spotted with Penney's CEO Myron E. "Mike" Ullman III at the Mandarin Oriental, Coach CEO Lew Frankfort told WWD that they were discussing a possible accessories line made exclusively for the department store. His comments didn't make anything sound like it had been confirmed, except for one sure thing -- the Penney's line would not be produced under the Coach name.
Why wouldn't Coach want its name in a downmarket brand when others have been doing so with such abandon? Well, although mass-market collaborations for high-end brands hold their own cache these days, history has not been so kind to the first of its kind, which was between Halston and, as it happens, JC Penney. Halston's high-fashion brand was irreparably diluted at the time, a fate Coach may be trying to avoid.