Coach has a long-standing relationship with the High Line, so it was an apt choice for the house’s first “real” runway show, said creative director Stuart Vevers in a pre-show interview. “This is a single moment,” he noted of the shift from staggered presentations. Given the brand’s amping up for its 75th anniversary in 2016, it made sense Coach would make a big splash at New York Fashion Week, and it was a good way to introduce the company’s newest offering: Coach 1941, a higher-priced, limited-distribution collection big on ready-to-wear.
The venue — a specially constructed glass box above a construction site at Hudson Yards — added pre-show drama as street-style photographers and their muses dodged cement mixers and flatbeds full of metal beams. No cost was spared on the highly designed set, from the sand-covered stairs leading inside to circular blonde wood risers perched above a mirrored runway lined with grass and wildflowers that will later be donated to the High Line. Inside, the chaos continued as Christina Ricci was shuffled from her seat to another and some editors scrambled as seats were reappropriated.
Fortunately, once settled, guests were in for a treat. Vevers, a Brit, has been consistent on his love of all things “Americana,” using his outsider status to interpret that mood for the brand. “There is definitely a nostalgic element. I want it to have that warmth and familiarity, like you know what it is but haven’t quite seen it done like that,” he said backstage after the show. Calico prairie prints, mixed and matched, prevailed throughout the collection, but the look was more California cool than Holly Hobbie. Vevers said he “pumped up the colors” and added animal prints to give it a surf-punk edge. Flirty patchwork tiered dresses with pleated hemlines worn with versions of the house favorite moto — done as jackets and vests in mustard or black-and-white leather or in calico patchwork fabrics — dominated the lineup. He also explored suedes, a natural for a leather-goods house, in patched details on the yokes of Western jackets with coordinating miniskirts. While these looks could have gone hokey, Vevers kept them on the right side of cool.