Next stop: Santa Fe. Stuart Vevers may only have spent 24 hours in the New Mexican capital last summer, but the experience made a big impact.
The impressive Turquoise Trail, the stunning desert landscape, the strong Western influences mixed with the punk-rock vibe of local popular dive bar The Matador — it all merged in the young and free-spirited Coach 1941 spring women’s and men’s collection, which offered a contemporary interpretation of an Eighties’ New Romantic vibe. This was highlighted by the postapocalyptic set, dominated by an oxidized giant metallic sculpture of a dinosaur.
Inspired by the hues of the desert landscape, Vevers offered a light and soft take on the season — a dramatic juxtaposition to the dark side that defined the fall collection. “This is a counterpoint to fall,” he said. “There are faded colors, nostalgic prairie prints — it’s very heirloom-y.”
Maxidresses with asymmetric hems were embellished with flamboyant ruffles. They were paired with chunky sweaters that had an artisanal feel; leather fringed jackets punctuated with patches, and washed napa vests with a charming lived-in effect. Artsy patchwork defined the denim pieces, which had an intentionally imperfect touch, while an elevated version of an outdoor fleece jacket was rendered in high-end color-blocked shearling.
“This is a different way of looking at craftsmanship and what luxury can mean,” he said. “But it’s also about seeing beauty in imperfection.”
In the men’s collection, leather jackets were washed and worn with crumpled tassels designed to “give a personality to the clothing so it’s not perfect, it’s a beautiful dystopia,” he said.
An oversize shearling coat had different color patches, sweaters were updated with metallic detailing and a printed pajama top was paired with patterned track pants. A varsity jacket was offered up in a burnished leather and embellished with burnt patches.
And not surprisingly, Vevers once again partnered with the Walt Disney Co. on a range of pieces, which for the first time were presented on the Coach 1941 catwalk. Playing with classic cartoon characters, the designer succeeded in tempering their childlike attitude and achieving an edgier effect. For example, some of the artwork was printed upside down, Dumbo was used for an intarsia pattern on a sweater, Bambi was seamlessly blended into a prairie-print motif on a maxiskirt, while the Aristocats popped up on a maxi black hoodie with a Nineties’ grunge feel.
With its charming combination of romanticism, rock ’n’ roll, Bohemian accents and Western references, the collection offered an eclectic and versatile take on a creative, urban contemporary wardrobe.