Stuart Vevers may not have ostensibly used the runway to celebrate his 10-year anniversary as Coach’s executive creative director, but the pieces in the spring collection were certainly a nod to his long-standing tenure with the brand.
“What was the starting point was reflecting on the last 10 years,” the designer said before his show at the New York Public Library Thursday night. “I wanted this collection to be very personal and reflect my love of New York City and all the inspiration it’s given me and Coach. And in that sense, I feel like I wanted to capture my archetypes of New York fashion.”
More from WWD
He said since first arriving in New York in the ’90s from his native England, he quickly discovered a few spots that would make an indelible imprint on him. But rather than offering up a vintage collection, he instead used his memories of his favorite spots as a “blueprint for the design of these archetypes rather than any literal references.”
So recollections from the Pyramid Club, one of his favorite dance clubs in the East Village, dictated the collection’s myriad slipdresses — which looked excellent in red leather with tough biker boots. Ditto to sheer renditions with deadstock lace trim, worn over little leather underpinnings. And “young female execs coming out of their town cars on my way to the studio, who were kind of done with power dressing and reinventing the suit” served as inspiration for his expanded offering of easy tailoring in wool, upcycled denim and regenerative cotton. And his favorite diner, the Lexington Candy Shop, where he saw a “well-loved raincoat on the rack,” was the one he imagined when creating the cotton trench in the current line.
Vevers also stood by core ideas from last season, as seen through a cropped jacket with long, lean skirt pairings; playfully shaped, colorful minibags with oversize basket totes; striped and distressed knits, and consistently strong leather and suede outerwear, like a standout oversize upcycled leather biker jacket worn as a minidress. The ethos dove deeper with his ongoing sustainability initiatives — using more regenerative, repurposed and deadstock materials; creating jelly shoes (60 percent bio materials), and utilizing not only natural dyes, but also deadstock ones, to name a few.
That didn’t stop PETA demonstrators from making a short appearance on the runway protesting the brand’s use of leather before they were quickly escorted off-site.
The menswear played into the “shared wardrobe” aesthetic and sported “a lot more tailoring” this season — something that showed up in the complementary womenswear as well. But it wasn’t your grandfather’s suit. Instead, Vevers presented a “real sense of ease” in pieces that were soft, washed and very deconstructed with a distressed patina. Key menswear pieces included a long, lightweight leather coat, a suede jacket with fringe on the sleeves, overalls, a long cotton trench and a short-sleeve graphic sweatshirt with sweatpants that sported the logo of Donohue’s Steak House on the Upper East Side of New York, another Vevers favorite.
Many of the pieces for both men and women were distressed or featured a unique “patina,” which Vevers said was intentional to create a mood. “We’re not putting patina on these clothes to make them look vintage. We’re putting a patina on these clothes to give an attitude and to create a sense of individuality.”
And nothing in the line was overly designed — also intentional. “We’re stripping it down to the essentials so it’ll be relevant for the next 80 years.”
Launch Gallery: Coach RTW Spring 2024
Best of WWD