By  on August 21, 2006

Coach is giving its Legacy collection a new home.

The firm is unveiling in-store shops within its flagships to showcase the accessories line, which is inspired by fashion designer Bonnie Cashin's work for the brand during the Sixties and spans a higher price range with the use of exotic skins on some styles.

The shops will begin rolling out next month, with the first one scheduled to launch on Sept. 23 in conjunction with the grand reopening of Coach's Ginza location in Japan. The U.S. will get its first look at the concept on Sept. 26 at the Coach boutique at 595 Madison Avenue in New York. Before the end of the year, Coach anticipates opening 15 Legacy departments in the U.S., as well as eight in Japan. There are no plans yet to extend the concept to additional Coach boutiques or department stores, although Legacy products will be on sale throughout the company's signature chain of more than 200 stores and at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale's units.

"One of the things we really wanted to try was to see if we could create an environment in our own stores that feels more like a shop-within-a-shop," said Reed Krakoff, president and executive creative director of Coach. "This collection seems like the perfect vehicle for that. We think it feels connected to the Coach assortment, but the customer can still recognize that it's something different."

The Legacy shops, each of which Krakoff said are a few hundred square feet, will feature a merchandised range of items, including handbags, footwear, jewelry, gloves and coats. The decor, which will change seasonally, will continue to glean its inspiration from Cashin, displaying colors, textures and materials based on her legendary New York apartment.

Krakoff declined to reveal sales expectations for the Legacy shops, but, according to Coach's fourth-quarter earnings report released earlier this month, the company's sales were up 23 percent to $514.4 million for the three months ended July 1.

In addition to building the brand, Krakoff has been perfecting another skill recently. He has taken up photography and recently shot his first Coach ad campaign, which celebrates the company's 65th anniversary and culls from 65 portraits the creative director shot of different women, such as Mandy Moore, Zani Gugelmann and Amanda Hearst.Krakoff said he chose the women because their personalities and sense of style are an embodiment of the brand. The campaign will only run in Japan and other international outlets, but will get additional exposure as part of a traveling exhibition that opens Saturday in East Hampton, N.Y., with a private party above the Coach store there. The show then moves on to Tokyo and Hong Kong. Krakoff said he also has shot Coach's holiday 2006 campaign, which will appear in the U.S.

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