Stuart Vevers On All Things Coach and New York City

Without a question, when Stuart Vevers took over creative reigns at Coach in 2013, he breathed new life and injected a youthful identity to the 77-year-old, all-American luxury brand. His success and progression at Coach have been particularly impressive to say the least. Under his careful leadership and guidance, Vevers has helped the brand get its groove back when he introduced the ready-to-wear collection back in 2014. “The response has been really strong since day one and I felt fortunate that even within my first season, people really embraced the fashion from Coach,” Vevers shared. “Showing at New York Fashion Week was a chance for me to say, it’s a new day at Coach.”

Stuart Vevers

Vevers also mentioned that the brand’s rich history and its heritage served as a “starting point” for his designs. However, his ultimate goal was to transform it into something “completely contemporary” to appeal to the brand’s target audience—the new millennials.

It was the day after Coach’s glitzy Spring/Summer ’18 presentation, and it was business as usual (perhaps busier than most days) at Coach, Inc.’s corporate headquarters in midtown Manhattan at 10 Hudson Yards as Coach opened its showroom for us to preview of the latest collection. In the corner of the show space overlooking the majestic Hudson River, we caught up with the executive creative director, as he shared his thoughts. This is what he had to say:

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Coach through the years…

The biggest change is that Coach is, first and foremost, a fashion house, not just a luxury leather goods house. I’ve been working towards that since the day I joined. Fast forward to today, you could come to Coach for different parts of your wardrobe. Wwe will still be most known for our bags, and I’m really proud of that.

Most cherished memory of New York…

It’s probably my first job after school, when I worked for Calvin Klein back in the ’90s. I have never been to New York before, I was hired from the interviews in the UK, and I arrived at JFK, and took the Brooklyn Bridge over to Manhattan and seeing it for the first time. It was burned in memory—it was magical.

Inspiration behind the collection…

I imagined the Coach girl dressing up; I wanted to explore a different side of her. Now that we have established the direction and what her character is, it gives me the opportunity to explore different parts of her wardrobe and this season was all about dressing up.

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On working with the Keith Haring Foundation…

I’ve always loved Keith Haring’s work. Since I was a little kid, his work stood out to me, I remembered it, even at the time I didn’t understand it as art. I just loved the kind of energy and immediacy that his work had and when we started brainstorming for the collection. We were talking a lot about New York City. We started to play with graphics for T-shirt or knitwear and nothing had that immediacy we were looking for. We came out with the idea of Keith Haring graphic and we tried it on and it just looked right with the silhouettes we were playing with. Of course, at that point, we were only playing around with Google printouts. Then, I got in touch with the Keith Haring Foundation and they were very enthusiastic. After that, I was able to spend a lot time reading about Keith Haring’s work and I was also fortunate enough to meet some of his friends, people that knew him when he was working or even just socially. It gives me more understanding and depth on how and what felt right as a homage to him.

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Favourite womenswear look from Spring/Summer ‘18…

It always takes me a little while to figure that one out. I did really love the look on Kaia [Gerber]. This felt like a representative of theme this season, but it also felt really Coach. We have the cool short boots but with long sequinned skirt that felt very new for the brand. On top of that, we have the quintessential coach leather jacket—rugged burnished cool with slightly fetishistic hardware. Underneath there you have cropped satin varsity jacket with all the crystal trims and styled with signature Coach bag. Kaia represented the quintessential Coach girl look.

On luxury…

I believe luxury is changing and changing fast. Today, luxury can be a sneaker, sweatshirt, or a playful backpack. The modern interpretation of luxury should be different. Luxury used to mean formality, it used to be the idea of investment, exclusivity, and that’s changing. I don’t think the next gen will live by those rules of luxury.