December 9, 2016
“The spirit of this collection was about togetherness, optimism, and possibility,” said Stuart Vevers after presenting his women’s Pre-Fall and men’s Fall collections for Coach 1941.
If there was ever a time we needed a reminder about togetherness, optimism, and possibility, it’s now.
Obviously, one runway outing isn’t going to fix all the world’s problems, but designers using their platforms to spread joy is certainly a start.
And my, Vevers certainly had a lot to be joyous about. This outing marked Coach’s 75th anniversary. It was also a testament to the directional new aesthetic Vevers has implemented at the house.
The lineup championed all things America. “It’s celebrating America’s original house of leather,” explained Vevers, who is technically British, but still…
“It’s about celebrating New York City, our home,” the designer continued. “And there was a nostalgia to this collection. I wanted warmth. It was an emotional collection. I wanted to celebrate craft and workmanship and, after three years at Coach, I wanted to push the boundaries again.”
Indeed, this rather grand runway romp proved that Coach is anything but the sleepy handbag brand favored by suburban housewives that it once was. I mean honestly, before Vevers’ appointment, could anyone have guessed that we’d be seeing progressive, gender-fluid clothing from Coach, as we did at this show? I think not.
Vevers’ penchant for gritty—sometimes campy—Americana came through here, what with patches and bag charms that read NASA, countless varsity jackets, ’70s hues and prints, and vintage iconography, like ice-cream sundaes, or the New York skyline.
Oh, and did I mention the set, which boasted vintage cars in a parking lot, something that recalled an old motor lodge, and an abundance of giant neon signs? If that doesn’t scream vintage Americana, I don’t know what does.
However, this was slightly more whimsical than Vevers’ previous offerings, particularly thanks to the many tromp l’oeil bows that covered sporty little jackets and sweet, sheer dresses.
The clothes were cool—and the equally cool frowers like Mark Ronson and Dree Hemingway will definitely wear them. But more importantly, this show was about an ideology. It was an homage to the diverse melting pot that is America. It was an ode to the rebels, the outsiders, and the staunch individuals that make the U.S.A. so great to begin with.
•Perhaps, with all the political and social turmoil (read: crises of epic proportions) of late, it took one such outsider to remind us that it’s still pretty great to be American.