Shooting for The Stars

The Coach 1941 Fall 2017 collection sends you straight into outer space.

BY IAN LOH | Aug 15, 2017 | Fashion

On a cold, blustery night in New York last December, Esquire arrived at Pier 94 to watch Coach’s Fall 2017 show. It was a special occasion; not because we had flown halfway around the world for it or the fact that it wasn’t staged during fashion week, but more that the night felt like a celebration—a true American celebration—despite the surprising outcome of the US Presidential election mere weeks before.

The show’s set—staged like a somewhat seedy motel and diner, complete with a parking lot filled with vintage cars and a slew of neon signs—wouldn’t have looked out of place in a David Lynch movie.

Since Stuart Vevers’ arrival at Coach three years ago, the brand has been associated with all-things Americana thanks to the Englishman’s deep affection for the US. On the runway, he presented his version of American optimism and referenced the clothes as “a West Coast surf kid heading east to New York City,” sans the board shorts and the Baja tees. 

“New York City, the spiritual home of Coach, is a cultural melting pot that embraces individuality and celebrates togetherness. It welcomes outsiders, like me, in a way that’s honest and uncontrived. Those values are more important today than ever as well as being relevant to our goal of making Coach the authentic, modern luxury alternative,” Vevers said in a press statement.

So, there were leather biker jackets, silk varsity jackets, work jackets, shearlings and M-65 parkas, most of which came adorned with graphic patches of stars, planets and various intergalactic objects. Meanwhile, sweatshirts and tees were slapped with the NASA logo, a space shuttle print, an ice cream, a dog, The Stooges wording, and Coach’s signifier, Rexy. Hardly anything on the runway was plain or simple. Or at least we didn’t spot it.

And all those logos followed through to the accessories where they were embroidered onto leather bags and tags in different sizes and colours, giving you plenty of options when you head to the store later this month.

Up close, models were heavily accessorised with necklaces, rings and bracelets—areas that Vevers had yet to extend during his tenure at Coach until now. But with his recent CFDA Accessories Designer of the Year award, it seemed like the logical thing to do. And soon, you will be wanting all that jewellery in addition to the bags and the outerwear.

As (fake) snow fell in the hall, the Young People's Chorus of New York City closed the show with Alicia Key’s “Empire State of Mind.” It was a particularly poignant moment given the turbulent state that the US found itself in then. But as much as Vevers’ collection is grounded in Americana, we think the man is shooting for the stars.