The latest New York collection to pay homage to the city itself is Coach, which presented a subversive vision of luxury and style on a chilly winter Monday afternoon show.
In terms of the schedule, this came after Tommy Hilfiger and before Michael Kors, and was very much the most original vision of New York style. As designer Stuart Vevers reimagined classical ideas about fashion and design as hipster takes on contemporary cool.
For a downtown brand this was also a very uptown location – inside a storied mansion on Fifth Avenue, around the corner from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Almost as if the cast had crashed a rich kids party and made it their own. And the net effect was a collection that cleverly challenged the very idea of what luxury really is.
“It’s the kids taking over the establishment,” joked Stuart.
A key element was the way Vevers aged most everything, adding street attitude, and a sense of imperfection that suggests the clothes and accessories were loved and worn. Hence taffeta gowns came crushed and wrinkled; spy coats were outlandishly large, and sheepskin or denim donkey jackets were made in patchwork.
For guys, tuxedos were double-sized and never ironed; blazers were scrunched up; and leather coats suitably faded into washed out anthracite.
All the way to the washed unpolished mechanics boots for guys and girls. Everyone carried bags and New York trinkets – ‘I Love New York’ coffee cups; yellow checker cab toys; mini-Statues of Liberty; Big Apples and even postcards of Central Park and the Empire State building.
“I am still very focused on listening to the current generation, that’s been an obsession of mine – youth culture. My aim is to see the tropes of classicism or even the codes of luxury through their lens. As they are disrupting and challenging it and making it their own,” explained UK born Vevers, who celebrated his decade helming Coach last September.
In effect, the collection was a clear recognition of a sea change in fashion. People are perfectly happy to buy second-hand and vintage online and to give and accept that as presents. Which for a brand with close to $7 billion in annual sales is a huge development.
“After over 10 years here, I still see this city through the eyes of a little boy growing up in Yorkshire. It’s eternally fascinating and magical where the streets feel like a movie set,” he beamed.
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