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COACH HITS THE RESET BUTTON: First came the clothes, and now, the campaign.
Coach’s new look continues with the brand’s fall ad campaign — its first under the creative direction of Stuart Vevers. The photos, which feature Vevers’ debut ready-to-wear collection, feature an “image-on-image” style, juxtaposing new portraits lensed by Steven Meisel against photos from Joel Sternfeld’s “Landscape With Path” series.
This story first appeared in the July 14, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“Joel’s images were part of my inspiration for the collection,” said Vevers. “Showing the inspiration behind the work is kind of intriguing.” Vevers’ main mandate in creating the campaign, done in collaboration with branding agency Baron & Baron Inc., was to signify the brand’s ongoing evolution. “It was important that it felt true to the spirit of the new Coach girl, but even more importantly was for people to sense a change,” said Vevers. “This is a reset.” The reset sees the brand saying goodbye to Karlie Kloss, who has been in Coach campaigns for the past two seasons alongside fellow top models Freja Beha Erichsen and Liu Wen.
Rather than selecting another cover girl to replace Kloss, Vevers opted to bring on a slew of up-and-coming models: Lexi Boling, Leona Binx Walton, Vanessa Mood, Harleth Kuusik, Gracie Van Gastel, Issa Lus and David Alexander Flinn. “It’s about the next generation,” said Vevers. “To me, that also signaled a sense of change in newness and capturing these girls that feel fresh and new.”
Behind the lens, however, the Coach team selected a crew of veterans to work with Meisel, including stylist Karl Templer, art director Fabien Baron, make-up artist Pat McGrath and hairstylist Guido Palau. The location of New York City also played a crucial element in the campaign’s creative direction. “[New York] is vital,” said chief executive officer Victor Luis. “It’s very much a part of who we are, and it’s at the core of our DNA. Almost 75 years ago, Coach was started in a New York City loft. There are just many wonderful connections to Stuart’s inspiration, who we are, and most of all, the spirit of the High Line and what NYC represents. The High Line is a wonderful expression of urban renewal and at the core of what New York represents. It just seemed appropriate and right that all of these come together.”
In addition to Sternfeld’s shots of the Meatpacking District landmark, the ads will integrate portrait model shots with close-up images of the brand’s signature leather goods. “We really wanted to express that newfound search for quality,” said Vevers. “Coach is known for its great quality and leather. You can really see the detail and the nuance of the leather in those close-ups.” Vevers hopes a combination of perspectives will create a lasting image for the brand. “A big consideration was about creating a layout that could feel ownable to Coach and the Coach style,” said Vevers. “That was an important first step.” Above all, added Luis, the campaign speaks to Coach’s lifestyle image.
“We’re not just a fashion brand,” he said. “We’re not just a brand with history. We’re a brand that has a very strong DNA as a house of quality, a house of leather and a house of craftsmanship. The photos represent who we are today and where we are going. It’s a youthful, Millennial consumer very much dressed in a modern expression of today’s workwear. And that’s how people globally are dressing.”