the new coach house is stuart vevers' tribute to democratic luxury

A shining jewel in Regent Street's crown (and a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace), the new Coach store celebrates the brand's new contemporary approach to luxury. We went down to the opening and grabbed a few words with Creative Director Stuart...

by Anders Christian Madsen
25 November 2016, 9:38pm

It took Stuart Vevers nine months to create Coach House, the brand's sprawling new store on the corner of Regent Street and Foubert's Place. "Like a big baby," he reflects. "A big baby on Regent Street!" Perched on one of his carefully selected pieces of furniture that fills the space, Vevers - now on his third year as Creative Director for Coach - is giving guided tours of the brand's most curated shopping destination to date, just open for business. Designed in collaboration with his go-to architect William Sofield, it's a 360-degree reflection of the contemporary, democratic luxury brand Vevers has perfected at Coach. From embossing bars to photo booths where shoppers can select various London tourist attractions as backdrops, Coach House is an engaging, interactive and above all personal shopping experience, which highlights the artisanal but down-to-earth tone Vevers has set for the brand. "We like a bit of eBay sourcing," he says going through the varsity bar, a counter dedicated to baseball jackets with one-of-a-kind patches sourced from vintage dealers. He notices a Windsor emblem. "I don't know what that's got to do with Regent Street," he ponders. But the Windsors, of course, are just around the corner. Welcome to Coach House: just a stone's throw from Buckingham Palace.

Anders Christian Madsen: Do you like to shop?
Stuart Vevers: I have my moments. Like, I go through shopping bursts. I'm not a consistent shopper. I'll feel the urge and do a day of it, and that'll do. I shop more for work than I shop for myself. I love to and visit stores and be inspired, and I love vintage shopping for research so I do much more of that. I like shopping for the home more than for clothes.

But you have an occasional spree?
Yeah. It's quite fun shopping at Coach, because I kind of have a checklist of things I know I want to get so as the new season arrives I'll just go in the store and, like, splurge. I've got a lot of big shearling coats at this point.

I'm kind of scared of fashion stores, but this one feels really welcoming.
I don't have that now, but I remember the first feeling of going into designer shops and being so nervous and anxious, and I don't want people to feel like that. Sometimes exclusivity can just mean excluding, and I think that's one of the things that makes Coach different: I reference the everyday in my collections and the store environment. We've shown on a scrap yard to a gas station to a suburban street, and I think ultimately Coach isn't a fantasy jet-let lifestyle brand, it's grounded in something quite real.

How is that reflected in Coach House?
One of the things that makes Coach different is that it's inviting; it's inclusive. I wanted it to feel warm and friendly, and I think that comes through with using quite straightforward and honest materials. We make a real point of showing off how things are made, and showing off the knots and the bolts that you use to construct these things, and that's not so typical of the normal world of luxury. It's the same approach that we have with the clothes—it's not about this idea of perfect slick finishes, it's about things that show a bit of attitude.

There's a real sense of New York in here.
We've exposed the bricks of the actual building, which was a charming idea to show that we were in this unique space. But we also use quite honest materials, like, the floor is pine—and I quite like that! It's quite New York City inspired: exposed beams, lots of industrial black and steel. We actual reference some original features of real Coach houses as they would have been in New York City before Coach even started.

And like your patches, the furniture in here is actually one-of-a-kind?
It's bit of eBay, a bit of 1stDips. Some are pieces that we've created but a lot are vintage shopping, actually. A lot of it comes from scouring the internet. You find some special things and it was important to me that this store had some unique pieces. I wanted it to feel like a consistent vision, but you expect to find some unique things in a store like this.

Why this heightened attention to the personal—the unique?
It's something I think is very important for now. It's another way to do unique things. In a store like this you want to feel like you're getting something really special. I think people want things that are special, something one-of-a-kind that they were part of creating. It goes against the ubiquity that people feel from fashion. It's a counterpoint to that. We've also tried to make it feel a bit more useful so it's not this dry, formal, old-school luxury approach. It's got an injection of use and playfulness.

Around the fashion landscape, people are scared things aren't selling—that retail isn't doing well—but it's not the case for Coach?
You've just gotta have a point of view, and you've gotta have a differentiated point of view. If you look at what is doing well, it always comes back down to that. If the industry is going through a challenging time, you have to be more creative, you have to take more risks. That's my approach, anyway.


Text Anders Christian Madsen

fashion interviews
stuart vevers
coach house