Outside of the Coach show last Friday, fans of South Korean rapper Youngji Lee gathered to scream. The swarm of people outside of the venue, the New York Public Library, was half eager fashion fans chasing the excitement of a runway, and half fans of fans of the brand, like Lee.
Backstage, Lee admits to being a Coach fangirl for some time; in August, she was named one of its ambassadors. In the campaign that followed, she models Coach bags covered in both glitter and the brand’s signature C monogram logo. In a statement, the luxury fashion house said, “Lee captures and embodies Coach’s Courage to Be Real message of embracing all aspects of who you are with confidence to inspire others to do the same.”
Lee taught herself how to rap and in 2022 became the first woman to win South Korean reality competition show Show Me the Money. She has yet to release her first full-length album, but that hasn’t stopped her fans—3.4 million of whom follow her on Instagram—from gathering to support her every move, as when she took her front-row seat at Coach’s Spring 2024 show.
For her first Fashion Week appearance as a brand ambassador—Coach is her first luxury partnership—Lee opted for one of the brand’s black slipdresses, worn with sparkling fishnet stockings, strappy black Mary Janes, and a metallic silver Coach bag. Backstage ahead of the show, Lee told me her favorite part of the look was “The silhouette of the dress. I love the naturalness of it,” before exclaiming, “I feel free wearing this!” and throwing one of the long, loose strands of ruffles hanging from her shoulder around her neck.
At 22, Lee feels free wearing Coach because, she says, it just feels like her. “I feel like the brand has become very young, and it really appeals to younger people. What I really love is my silver bag, which is so appealing to Gen Z.” The show marked Stuart Vevers’s 10th anniversary, and with every year, the creative director has been able to expand on his ever-growing appeal to the youth. This has never been more evident to me than when Lee looked me in the eyes and told me she loves Coach because “I am Gen Z!” as if there could be no other explanation.
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