For many years, the name Coach brought to mind those monogrammed crossbody bags and wristlets so commonly associated with avid club-goers. But recent celebrations for the long-time leather purveyor’s 75th anniversary proved there is much more depth to the company, and it’s all thanks to one man: Stuart Vevers. As the most recently appointed creative director of Coach, Vevers began three years ago, stripping the brand of its former lacklustre reputation and injecting it with a newfound fashion credibility that appeals to the next generation of luxury clientele—including newly announced face of the brand, Selena Gomez.
If that was his plan, the newly unveiled Coach House is a testament to it. Comprising 20,000 square-feet over three storeys, the global flagship anchors a corner at Fifth Avenue and 54th Street in Manhattan that was designed in collaboration with William Sofield, whose New York City firm, Studio Sofield, was also responsible for such retailers as Gucci, Harry Winston, and Tom Ford. Even before entering, a suspended rotating conveyor belt of Coach products almost hypnotizes potential customers, coaxing them to come in and explore the world of luxury beyond the storefront’s glass-block façade. The atrium is consumed by an impressive Billie Achilleos–designed 12-foot-tall sculpture of Rexy (the brand’s tyrannosaurus mascot), made almost entirely of handbags and surrounded by sweeping blackened-steel cantilevered wall fixtures displaying the store’s many offerings: onsite monogramming, a bespoke service exclusive to flagships that allows countless customization options for the iconic Rogue bag; and ready-to-wear collections, the most recent of which was shown at Pier 94.
The women’s pre-fall and men’s fall collections—presented jointly to a cool-kid crowd including Drew Barrymore, Emma Roberts, Diplo, and Zoë Isabella Kravitz—featured leather biker jackets, satin bombers, and oversized shearlings as well as whimsical ice-cream-sundae, outer-space, and, of course, Jurassic embellishments. Prairie dresses, floral details, and trompe l’oeils softened the women’s looks, as did outsized pattern play for the men. The collections’ retro feel came full circle set against a parking lot complete with vintage cars and neon signs galore, and underscored by 75 members of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City harmonizing “Empire State of Mind,” an homage to Coach’s birthplace.
So perhaps it is no surprise that a humble Manhattan company with a goal of creating “beautiful, functional items in modern shapes and the finest leathers” has, over the past 75 years, grown into a luxury behemoth. As the Jay Z song goes, “These streets will make you feel brand new”—and that’s precisely how Coach feels.
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