The XX Factor

Straight Guys in Fashion Seem to Like Their Ladies Submissive

In this week’s New Yorker , the wonderful Ariel Levy has profiled Reed Krakoff (subscription only), the fabulously wealthy executive creative director of Coach who has launched his own accessories line. A few things jumped out at me from this piece: One, he has a bathroom that is covered entirely in gold snakeskin . Two, he has a creepy relationship with his French gamine wife, Delphine. Levy describes Delphine as “acquiescent and upbeat.” Krakoff gushes about how in love he is with his wife, and brags that she cooks for him every night, and also: “When I first met Delphine, she called me master.” (For the record, Delphine says she merely called him sir, because “I came from a culture where the designer is something and you stand up when he walks by.”) But that’s not the only distressing part. According to Levy:

Krakoff told me earlier that he cannot bear to think of his wife’s past boyfriends-even from her teen-age years in Paris. “She’s my princess,” he said, “and I don’t want anyone else ever to have had her.”

That sounds mature. And also reminiscent of another fashion relationship between an American man and a French woman: The coupling of famous bloggers Scott Schuman and Garance Doré. Here’s the relevant snippet from the New York profile of the pair:

I grew up reading designers’ ideas about women, like: She’s so strong, she rules the world, whatever. I wouldn’t want to be with a girl like that, who’s type A. Garance is smart, driven, all these great Corsican qualities of self-determination, but she’s totally fragile. Totally insecure. That’s a real human. That’s the whole package.

Certainly there are straight men in fashion who seem to have lovely relationships with their powerful wives (Kate and Andy Spade come to mind; so do Isabel and Ruben Toledo). But when I hear these fashion guys kvelling about their fragile, insecure princesses, I want to barf in one of Krakoff’s thousand dollar be-ribboned bags .

Photograph of Garance Dore by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images; Photograph of Scott Schuman by Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images