NEW YORK, United States — The High Line has transformed downtown Manhattan. So it says something about Coach’s commitment to Stuart Vevers that he was given carte blanche to transform the High Line, or at least throw a massive tent (Spring 2016 seems to be the ‘Season of The Tent’) over part of it and plant it like a patch of Terrence Malick country.
Malick’s Badlands and Days of Heaven are favourites of Vevers. You could imagine their space and open skies registering as the essence of Americana with a kid who grew up in the North of England. In which scenario, Sissy Spacek would read as the All-American Girl. Sure enough, there she was on the Coach catwalk. Or at least, there were a couple of freckled strawberry blondes who captured the Sissy vibe. And you could picture her in Vevers’s parade of prairie prints.
Coach will be 75 next year, and it has fallen on Vevers to shepherd the celebration. Reflecting on the company’s golden moments, he went back to Bonnie Cashin, challenging himself to put his own spin on her “flexible wardrobe for modern nomads” (thank you, Wiki.) His juxtapositions were intended to make the notion of luxury relevant for a new generation: the softness of those prints clashed with a leather biker, knitwear as easy as a t-shirt, puff-sleeved prettiness combined with surf and skate references. Or Vevers fused opposites, such as city and country — the biker cut from the same floral prints as his flippy little dresses.
The most impressive thing about the collection was its uniformity. Vevers made virtually the same point in all 48 of the looks he showed. There was a fearlessness in that fact. There was also an instinctive awareness that such repetition is transformative. Vevers gave Coach a strong, appealing message. There have been naysayers and nervous investors. Here was their reassurance. The bags appliquéd with leather flowers should make them feel even better.