It is a good day for American fashion. The strong LC:M debut at Coach just made Public School’s victory at the International Woolmark Prize earlier this afternoon even sweeter. Citing “an individuality born of New York” as the starting block, designer Stuart Vevers focused his attention on sturdy outwear built to weather the Polar Vortex; luscious pebble grain leather, deep browns and plenty of shearling.
Vevers was clearly flexing his prowess in his first presentation at the helm as Executive Creative Director of Coach since the appointment in June last year. After all, he was the man who brought flourish especially to the accessories designs of Louis Vuitton, Bottega Veneta and of course Mulberry, which owes much of its success to Vevers. This season, the British-born designer manipulated American Classics like the aviator jacket, military coat and the quintessential baseball jacket, splicing and dicing well-established patterns to emancipate Coach from the clichés of “Americana”. The interpretation of the motorcycle jacket-cum-trench coat in look 5 embodied this very spirit of creating something new with the familiar.
Perhaps the genius of Stuart Vevers is that he is not one for pyrotechnics. The show demonstrated this through its intimate setting and concise runway as models showed product against a humble but evocative print backdrop by Gary Baseman. Vevers take on Coach offered a full wardrobe of options rather than a few showpieces. And historically, his Midas touch has been in elevating the tangible value of his designs, through high quality fabrication and new construction techniques, rather than in keeping with seasonal trends. Today felt no different. As separates, each piece could warrant luxury pricing just purely on its lustrous materials alone. The nod to tradition mixed with the concerted effort to push the notion of American menswear landed Coach a timeless quality that liberated the show from being encapsulated to a particular season.
Like Public School, the pull factor of Coach ultimately rests on its attitude. The Coach man today projected the effortless confidence of The Beastie Boys, Gus Van Sant and Steve Mcqueen, and judging from the general reception of the room, the American label inspired much confidence under Vevers' skilful stewardship.