Fashion & Beauty / Collections Digest

Stuart Vevers on the Future of Coach

AnOther enjoys a post-show chat with Coach's creative director, who talks Terrence Malick, subcultures and modern luxury

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Coach S/S16
Coach S/S16Photography by Pablo Ravazzani

Yesterday afternoon, on the edge of New York’s industrial space-cum-urban garden The Highline, editors, buyers and quite a few notable faces (think: Debbie Harry, Mariel Hemingway, and Zoe Kravitz) entered a Midwestern prairie field contained within a giant glass box. The mini pastoral was meant to evoke the great American planes, and it marked the 75th anniversary of American heritage brand Coach.

Ever since Stuart Vevers took to the helm of the house in 2013, he has electrified what many had come to see as a staid space. His heart is in rooted in subculture, and he’s as interested in finding ways to place Coach in the context of today’s Chinatown skaters, Venice Beach surfers, and self-isolated punks as he is in maintaining its casual (and distinctly American) approach to luxury. This season's show, styled by Karl Templer with downtown girls like Lexi Boling and Binx Walton stomping down the mirrored runway, continued his fusion of countercultural influences with nostalgic references to relaxed Americana. We spoke to Vevers to find out how Terrence Malick inspired the collection, what luxury means today and his vision for the future of Coach...

Finding the American landscape in Yorkshire…
"I was looking at the films of Terrence Malick like Days of Heaven and Badlands, and they have a kind of nostalgia for great American landscapes. Honestly, that's how I learned about American style – I grew up in Yorkshire watching those movies. One of the things that I think is really important is looking at how we style the pieces; I want there to be a sense of authenticity, a real unpreciousness about how we put things together. It's about celebrating imperfection, because that's what makes things interesting."

On revisiting vintage...
"When I first moved to New York in the late 90s, Brooklyn was just starting to happen. Since I moved back, nearly two years ago, i've spent quite a lot of time there – and I've been really struck that a lot of the girls on the street who look cool are wearing Coach bags – but Coach bags from 30 years ago! So I asked myself, 'what is it about those things? Why do they like them?' I felt like it was because they had an ease. They were these great authentic materials. There was a subtlety to the way they were put together. And I want to pull Coach back into that territory."

On modern American luxury...
"I think what’s really important to me is exploring what luxury means for the next generation. What do they care about? Do they even care? To me, some of the definitions that I grew up with in terms of luxury – well, nobody cares about them anymore. A sneaker and a t-shirt can be luxury today; I don't see young people caring about formality. There's a certain efforlessness and ease that, to me, is one of the things that defines American luxury, makes it different from European brands. Coach seems to me, like a great opportunity to explore those things; we can go high and low."

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