Photography Mitchell Sams

coach 1941 breathes new life into 80s new wave

Stuart Vevers celebrates 78 years of the brand with a new minimal direction.

by Jack Sunnucks
Sep 11 2019, 7:52pm

Photography Mitchell Sams

The most important thing you should know about Coach 1941 was that its latest show featured tank tops and sweaters imprinted with the glorious visage of Barbra Streisand, photographed by the great Richard Bernstein for Interview. What you should also know is that Stuart Vevers’ collection took his Americana obsession in a decidedly 80s, New Wave direction, after a few seasons inflected with 70s California cool. This was a very New York show, with models marching along The High Line in crisp lines to the booming sounds of the Human League, their sharp leathers only slightly ruffled by the fall breeze.

Anok Yai set the tone in the first look, a red leather belted trench that served as riposte to Vevers’ previously slouchy, shearling lined jackets. This was followed by a new cast of models for the brand, who made tank tops adorned with Bernstein’s Rob Lowe portraits paired leather pants look vital and cool. In the place of prairie dresses, there were loose shirts with a geometric print, stiff leather skirts, and graphic knits. Of course, most importantly for Coach, there were bags, which rather than being folksy and naive, had some of the hardness of the city Vevers was paying tribute to. There were 78 looks in total, in tribute to the brand’s 78 years, all of them reworked from the archive and given a stripped-back look. It felt like a minimal new dawn for Coach.

While the leather goods might have been minimal, the front row was anything but. Euphoria’s Barbie Ferreira, Megan Thee Stallion, and Rowan Blanchard held court, showing the diversity in styles that Vevers has come to encompass. Any of them would find something to wear on the runway, whether it be silver leather pants, soft belted dresses, or just a little something with a portrait of the original New York woman Barbra Streisand — for icons only.