Style

Stuart Vevers Bumps Up The Style Accelerator At Coach

Jolting forward with the new Americana.

BY | Feb 6, 2017 | Fashion

Esquire US Alfonso Fernández Navas wears a leather biker jacket hand-painted by Gary Baseman for Coach 1941. Photograph by Ben Goldstein.

 

Stuart Vevers has worked for some of Europe’s poshest outfits—Bottega Veneta, Mulberry, Givenchy. So when Coach, the venerable 76-year-old New York brand, brought him in to rethink the line, we were curious to see where he’d take it.

Fear not: the Coach that defined a quiet, traditional luxury still exists. But Vevers has injected a boldness that has made the brand an example of how to reimagine a house with a strong heritage without losing its soul.

Vevers oversees all of Coach’s production and merchandising, including its legendary leather goods, but it’s in clothing that he is really shifting the company into a higher gear. Coach 1941 has a decidedly youthful feel.

 

“The new codes of luxury are being defined by the next generation, which wants to spend its money on a sneaker, a T-shirt, or a fun handbag,” he says. “And I think a lot of this has been driven by the taste and boldness of Asian style. This new generation doesn’t see status in a stiff attaché case, a classic court shoe or tailoring. They want something that reflects their lives and personalities.”

For his Spring ’17 collection, Vevers tapped legendary Los Angeles artist Gary Baseman to graffiti a broad range of products—including leather jackets, totes and T-shirts—just hours before the garments hit the runway. Baseman’s designs sold as original art and will continue to sell in print form on T-shirts. Motifs riff on American ideals gleaned from realms as diverse as surf culture and the American West, and Vevers also played with Americana, subverting preppy loafers with studs. It’s classic but not as we know it.

“Words like classic are not so relevant today,” says Vevers. “I’ve used them before in my career, but after the last recession, I felt like people hung on to these ideals as a kind of reassurance that didn’t mean much in the end. The best brands today are making great fashion that is strengthened by its heritage but not dictated by it.”


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