Coach RTW Fall 2021

Coach is returning to the runway — but rather than New York City, this time the show will be held in Shanghai.

The brand said it will unveil a winter collection on June 3 with an in-person event at the city’s historic Shanghai Exhibition Center. The show will also be livestreamed on the brand’s social media channels.

Called “Coach TV: Live From Shanghai,” the brand is touting it as an “experiential runway show designed to transport guests and viewers to an immersive Coach world.”

In an interview, Coach’s creative director Stuart Vevers said the collection will build on the vision shown in the fall collection. It will include a few of his “favorite” pieces from that season — restyled for the runway — as well as entirely new designs. But because Coach has not held a runway show since February 2020, this will mark the first time the fall pieces will be shown on the catwalk.

All told, Vevers said there will be about 45 looks on the runway, a larger offering than that of the last two collections that were shown virtually and included some archival pieces as well.

“The winter collection will build on the story I introduced in fall, and it also marks a moment of reinvention and looking forward,” said Vevers. He said that will include a continuation of the color palette and silhouette stories that were shown in fall. “It’s not a start-stop,” he said. “It will build on what we started.”

Vevers continued: “Last year, I made a commitment to evolve how we do things at Coach, and today, this includes approaching seasonality in a more honest, authentic way. I’m looking forward to debuting this new vision with our return to the runway at a historic location in Shanghai –– and with a very special episode of Coach TV that will further reimagine how we tell stories, entertain, and bring joy.”

Vevers said Shanghai is “such a cool place. It has such a contemporary, modern attitude and I love the energy. It inspires me — like our home in New York.”

In addition, Coach is quite popular with the Chinese consumer. “Our client in China loves fashion from Coach,” he said. The ready-to-wear and bags are especially strong in that country, so “that’s another great reason to show there. It’s an exciting and dynamic market and way to reward the client the client there. So it feels very natural to show in that city.”

Coach actually showed in Shanghai once before, in December 2018 for its pre-fall collection.

In reporting its earnings in the third quarter earlier this month, Coach parent Tapestry said revenues in China surged 175 percent compared to last year, or 40 percent compared to the pre-pandemic third quarter in 2019.

“Coach TV: Live from Shanghai will be an incredibly exciting moment,” said Todd Kahn, Coach’s chief executive officer and brand president. “The experience is not only our return to the runway; it’s also a celebration of our passion for creating unique experiences for our customers in China, and all over the world.”

Unfortunately, with the ongoing pandemic, Vevers won’t be able to attend the show in person. But he’s been working to translate his vision to the team in China to ensure the show comes off without a hitch. “It’s really an interesting challenge,” he said, “like a lot of things over the past year. But it’s all about making sure we have the right partners and people in Shanghai that we can trust. It’s kind of extraordinary that we’re actually able to do this.”

By using Coach TV, a campy video experience inspired by American pop culture that was popular among customers and the press last season, Vevers is confident the brand can once again pull it off.

“This is going to be digital content blended with a live runway show,” Vevers said. “We had a great response to our last Coach TV so it felt right to build on that as we evolved back to a live show.”

But expect a return home later this year. Vevers confirmed that — barring any unforeseen flare-up with the pandemic — Coach plans to return to New York City with an in-person show in September during New York Fashion Week.