To those familiar with Coach executive creative director Stuart Vevers’ approach over the last three years, the massive set that he built for his runway show Thursday night – timed to mark the brand’s 75th anniversary – represented a culmination of his obsession with all things Americana. In the darkened belly of Pier 94, the British designer recreated a somewhat seedy roadside motel and diner complete with a parking lot full of Sixties and Seventies classic cars covered in a bevy of neon signs. It was here the codes Vevers has developed came together as both worlds – his women’s pre-fall and his men’s fall – blended for the first time ever.
Backstage pre-show, Vevers said he was looking to create a cinematic effect on the set, referencing films by David Lynch and Harmony Korinne.
The designer referenced “a West Coast surf kid heading east to New York City,” though not literally board shorts and Baja shirts meets tough all-black city garb.
For his women’s line-up Vevers mashed up key styles in a new way. The dress has become core to his women’s collections of late and this go-round he gave them a Thirties vintage feel, reviving some prints from his Baseman series. An appliquè bow effect was particularly sweet on a black and cream version, all possessing ,according the Vevers, the “ease of a T-shirt.” These were usually topped off with one of five core outerwear styles the brand is becoming known for – the shearling, the biker, the varsity, the parka and the military M69. This season they were elevated with embroidery details such as beaded flowers on a shearling and on a new belted waist maxi coat. There was also a lone maxi skirt reminiscent of those crafty Seventies patchwork styles paired with a cheeky NASA sweatshirt (particularly poignant Thursday given the death of iconic American astronaut John Glenn). “It’s one of my favorites,” he said of the logo.
His sweater motif this season was a dog and ice cream cone. His retro mood carried over into bags with multi-color “bottle tab” link leather straps and clogs.
While borrowed from the boys may be a familiar concept – a lone female wore the plaid pants taken from the men’s rack – in Vevers world the expression was more borrowed from the girls as the male models donned sweaters and shrunken leather bombers taken from the girls closet. In addition to the NASA logo on men’s tops, moon and stars graphics were also used as embellishment details on leather bike jackets, sweaters, T-shirts and silk varsity jackets. Vevers spoke to Coach’s legacy in the use of glove leather — a hallmark of the brand — in outerwear. It was also used in a reinvented mail sack from the Sixties and a Seventies-inspired duffle.”It’s all about unprecious, cool leather pieces,” he said, pointing to the shearlings with raw edges and the colorful playful sneakers. “Everything has an honest, lived-in quality.”
Although the multitude of patches mixed with prints became overwhelming at times, the overall result was a step in the right direction toward developing a very well-defined identity for the Coach man.
And despite many in fashion feeling somewhat defeated by the recent outcome of the Presidential election, Vevers was said he was feeling optimistic and closed the show with a choir of 75 school kids singing the now classic “New York” by Jay Z.