For his first full blown runway show as the artistic director of Coach, designer Stuart Vevers fittingly decided to honor the pioneering codes of American fashion. At least that is what the press notes led the audience to believe. And yet when the first look hit the mirrored catwalk, which was surrounded with sea grass and sand, the vibe was decidedly more London circa 1970 than it was anything closely resembling Americana archetypes.
This isn't to say the collection was unsuccessful. Far from it. The easy Liberty floral print mash ups on flirty skirts and the "slip on and go" dresses were charming, their somewhat jarring juxtaposition of colors giving them a slightly rebellious attitude. This sensation was only enhanced by the occasional addition of a bright patchwork leather mod jacket or one cut from brown suede with western wear detailing at the shoulders.
When Verves moved away from his floral creations he came up with a number of other quirky yet cheerful pieces. A blue sweater with a green dinosaur on the front, a fire engine red suit, or one in royal blue, and a smattering of sleeveless perfecto vests all had their charms.
However, it was the accessories, the bread and butter of this brand, that came away as the big winners of the show. The animal or patchwork print ankle boots are going to get major editorial play. As for the bags, there wasn't one design that didn't connect with someone in the audience. The three-dimensional leather flower festooned saddle bags and the colorful satchels with the clever fold down side panels will do well for the house. As will the more restrained larger saddle bags with just a touch of the wild side via their animal print shoulder straps.
This collection was a fine first foray onto the catwalk for Coach and it bodes well for Vevers too.