Twenty personalities — including Jennifer Lopez, Michael B. Jordan, Kaia Gerber, Tavi Gevinson and Megan Thee Stallion — shot in eight locations on two continents during a pandemic, appearing in short videos channel surfing nostalgic references from “Friends” to 1-800 commercials.
As a logistical feat of content creation, Coach’s fall effort was impressive, but as a collection not as much, in part because you hardly knew where to land between new and vintage, shearlings, slips, critter sweaters, socks and sandals, patchworks and plaids.
For his second “Coach Forever” effort, creative director Stuart Vevers once again collaborated with Juergen Teller, using a range of buzzy individuals from multiple pop culture realms, K-pop to TikTok, and styling them as themselves, following a play similar to Alessandro Michele at Gucci, only with actual vintage added to the mix.
(Fun fact, the brand works with a collector in Tennessee who does nothing but restore vintage Coach bags, some of which were puzzle-pieced together to cool effect.)
Naturally for the leather goods brand, outerwear was a priority, with shearling jackets the stars. Less distinctive and less obviously Coach was a gray overcoat over a red ditzy floral prairie dress, peach floral slip and fuzzy baby blue slippers, which altogether felt a bit too “Grey Gardens” shut-in for this late(?) stage in the pandemic when most everyone is ready to get out of their pajamas.
Battered-looking biker jackets (one the result of a rather confusing collaboration with another American heritage leather brand, Schott NYC, and the other one upcycled) spoke to the worn-in look Vevers was going for, but also begged the question of why buy vintage-looking when you can buy actual vintage? “I think they can coexist,” the designer said, explaining that when Coach posts one-of-a-kind vintage items on its website, they sell quickly.
Comfort and comfort in nostalgia were paramount, but this wasn’t a return to classics — other than Bonnie Cashin’s genius kiss locks, which appeared on the pockets of a standout camel stretch wool blazer, and on a new slouchier crossbody bag that was a nice update.
“It’s more a return to special pieces,” Vevers said, calling out a Mickey Mouse sweater from the “The Shining,” a film he has referenced in collections before, and that seemed to pop up in the bundled-up layers and touches of red plaid here and there. (Again, a tough reference after months of quarantine.) His cute Rexy dino sweater also made a reappearance, alongside other touches of whimsy like mushroom-embroidered socks.
In Vevers’ small men’s wear offering, he continued to transmit cozy, relayed best in a triple play of sweaters: a ribbed red turtleneck under a soft pink V-neck under a brown cardigan paired with black tweed knit pants — all reminiscent of pieces Gen Z might find in grandpa’s closet.
A pair of brown fleece sweatpants with a red sweater featuring a large image of an ice cream sundae over a plaid shirt and worn with pastel slippers also spoke to a playful vibe.
But as a cohesive brand story, it was hard to follow.