Walking into the Coach show at an industrial warehouse, replete with upcycled shearling benches in downtown New York City, it was pretty much immediately obvious what the theme was.
A continuation to his refreshingly stripped-back Spring outing and the Pre-Fall collection, creative director Stuart Vevers had his sights on 1980s New York’s downtown art scene with bursts of primary colours, geometric prints and decidedly youthful energy for Coach Autumn/Winter 2020 collection.
Despite the infusions of familiarity from last season’s city vibe, Coach managed to keep things fresh with modern homages and touchpoints. This season’s collection was created in collaboration with influential African-American artist, Jean- Michel Basquiat.
In that vein, Vevers rendered a selection of Basquiat’s paintings into eclectic prints that appeared on key pieces such as trench coats, T-shirts, bomber jackets, wool scarf and all leather accessories. To mark the collaboration, members of Basquiat’s family were in attendance, including the artist’s niece, Jessica Kelly, who also walked the show.
Dressed in distressed leather jackets and colourful 80s aesthetic, the models exuded a “busy New Yorker” attitude through and through. As with previous collections from the American label, layering plays a huge role in each look together with the house’s signature shearling outerwear pieces.
This collection, the fits are more relaxed and oversized, harking back to the 70s and leather boots have been swapped out for retro-inspired sneakers and pumps, fit for Coach’s city dweller. Without neglecting the brand’s tongue-in-cheek charms, the relaxed vibe carries into the accessories. Geometric bags were effortlessly carried like wristlets while slouchy ones were folded and tucked under the arm.
Then Vevers pulled out one more surprise: Debbie Harry, wearing a dress and camel coat emblazoned with Basquiat prints, arrived to join the Coathangers for a performance of Dreaming while models walked the finale.
Certainly, Vevers has done an impressive job of pushing Coach beyond its humble roots as a heritage leather goods brand and this season he took things up a notch yet again. If one had to sum up the story of this collection in a couple of words, it might go something like: chic American in the 21st century goes to downtown New York.