In the interests of full disclosure, I have to say that I love Coach. Have done for several years, ever since Stuart Vevers was parachuted in to turn what was a fairly staid ‘affordable luxury’ brand into one with real fizz.
So any review of the collection comes through that filter of fandom. But I like to think I can still maintain unbiased stance and look at it as any dispassionate critic would. So this week’s NYFW show?
Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. If I could find a heart emoji on my keyboard, I’d be using it now.
OK, I admit, that’s not what you’d call dispassionate, but hey, what’s life without a bit of emotion?
Anyway, a heart emoji might be a suitable device as hearts figures strongly in the collection. But they were nothing like as mundane as a modern emoji. They came courtesy of the label’s collaboration with the Keith Haring Foundation. The good-guy artist being intimately associated with New York (and with fashion via previous collaborations with Grace Jones and Madonna before his untimely death) was a good fit.
The collection featured a host of Haring’s animation-style artworks embellished on dresses, jackets, sweaters, tees, boots and bags. In fact, the big bag story of the collection – the revival of Bonnie Cashin’s 1972 mailbox bag – saw the piece updated with Haring graphics and decorative Haring linings.
So what were the other big stories from this collection? Well Americana (as always with Coach) was one. Just like Raf Simons at Calvin Klein earlier during NYFW, it seems European designers who land in NYC really feel the need to interpret the labels they’re working for in a very ‘American’ way. But the European lens always adds an edge that elevates the collections, and so it was here.
Vevers stuck with his love of classic American pieces such as the biker and the varsity jacket, plus the prairie-influenced dress. This time though there was more of an evening edge. Everything was trimmed in glitter, while metallic leather and shimmering satins were big features. Slip dresses had lace inserts and diamanté trims (again, referencing Keith Haring). A western-style dress had its topstitching picked out in diamanté.
And there was a big denim story too. Coach isn’t usually that big on denim with softer separates and dresses plus leathers and shearling being more its bag. But denim is a big seller for everyone from the most value-conscious high street brand to the big names of designer fashion. So we got decorative denim but with the decoration kept under control. Patchwork (again, more Americana) was a big feature, worked in star designs and those Keith Haring devices also (fairly subtly) adding to the USP.
Gimme, gimme, gimme.