NEW YORK — Coach is knitting something special for fall.
The accessories house is teaming up with cashmere label Lutz & Patmos for a capsule line of women's knitwear. The launch collection, scheduled to reach Coach flagships in October, will consist of at least six pieces made of cashmere and wool, sometimes mixed with fur and leather.
Coach president and executive creative director Reed Krakoff will collaborate with Lutz & Patmos designers Tina Lutz and Marcia Patmos on the project, which is slated to continue at least through spring 2007. The knitwear will be labeled Coach.
Retail prices will range from $300 to $1,500. Krakoff didn't disclose sales projections. In the six months ended Dec. 31, Coach's sales rose 25.5 percent to $1.1 billion.
"We are always looking for new areas to expand on what we do, and to add texture and newness to the store environment and the consumer experience," Krakoff told WWD. "We had done kids' and babies' items and a little bit of jewelry. We started thinking about what we'd like to do this year and one of the things was knitwear."
Krakoff met the of-the-moment cashmere designers as a judge for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund awards, which featured Lutz & Patmos as finalists. The three found their aesthetic visions were not too dissimilar.
"They are very much about quality and they shared a design aesthetic that we felt was similar, which was not overly designed, functional and still chic and fashionable," Krakoff said.
For the new sweater collection, Krakoff, Lutz and Patmos dug into Coach's archives for inspiration and incorporated turnlock closures, buckles and swatches of leather into the designs. Some sweaters feature C-logo embroidery, while others will use a Coach dog leash as a belt. Many color tones are taken from vintage Bonnie Cashin designs. Cashin was hired as a designer for Coach in 1964 to create a women's accessories line.
"We were inspired by Coach's past," Lutz said. "We looked at all the heritage pieces. Coach has so many key elements, like the turnlock closure and other hardware. It's great to work with these iconic Coach elements."
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