Stuart Vever‘s first collection for Coach is completely straightforward for those worried that the brand’s typical customer wouldn’t get it. Americana idealized and suburbian Oregon track homes in the fall serve as inspiration for a utilitarian collection that purposely lacks polish, but instead is infused with charm. Colors are literal fall foliage of ochre and auburn.
Stuart’s genuine excitement was inspired by America. It’s a fresh, new and novel perspective for Coach, who needs a revamp while still remaining relevant to their customer base. Things that are cool to him, like the space program, were celebrated on a sweater showing the Apollo rocket with stars and the moon. I’m a huge NASA geek, so I’ll be getting that sweater. It’s the kind of kitsch that can be literal to some but ironic for others, which is the exact fine he has been hired to walk.
He had only 3 months to pull this collection together, which in the end made it carefree with an easy spirit instead of overthought. With so much pressure and anticipation built around what he was going to do, this was probably the best thing.
Key bags in the collection were of course my focus. These are bags inspired by and made for working women. He started with very basic basics in mind – the t-shirt, the work boot, the fireman jacket, and the saddlebag, reworking them to include small elements of surprise. For example, the saddlebag satchel had inlaid chains in leather underneath the flap and the small studs on the oversized tote with minimal tassels on the side. Price points are a bit higher with the satchel starting around $695 and caps out with the large tote for $2,000.
Of course the ever-polite English gentleman, he sidestepped my question of whether he elevated the luxury for the brand. “That is not the right way to put it,” he explained. Instead he said he was liberated by the accessibility of the pieces he was able to create with incredible leathers, bringing his vision to what was already a strong brand. If you ask me, the answer is a clear Yes. What I saw was him infusing luxury details and a keen eye for finishing touches like the right hardware, embellishments that stay within the realms of chic and shapes that we are not tired of. In other words, great design.