Coach’s creative director Stuart Vevers staged his spring/summer 2023 show for Coach on a pier in Park Avenue Armory in New York. “It’s the idea that a group of friends have left the club at sunrise, and they’re like, ‘Let’s go to Coney Island!’” he said of his showcase, which featured pieces to take the wearer from city to beach.
The show imagined a giant boardwalk
In the Armory on Park Avenue, Coach had erected a massive pier. As the show began, it lit up warmly like an early sunrise as models meandered around the boardwalk hand-in-hand like couples and in groups of friends. “We had a conversation about what young people in New York do in the summer,” Stuart Vevers explained in a preview. “It’s the idea that a group of friends have left the club at sunrise, and they’re like, ‘Let’s go to Coney Island!’ They jump on the subway and adapt their wardrobe to going to the beach. I did it myself back in the day. But the more ‘city’ version of that is the west side, on the piers. You can almost get a sense of the beach or the seaside.”
It was a city-to-beach collection
“There’s something interesting about the place where the city meets the beach: Coney Island, Rockaway Beach, or Jones Beach where people usually go for the day. It’s not this full beach experience where you go with hats and bikinis. It’s a bit more random. The idea of that wardrobe inspired my starting point,” Vevers said. “It brought references that we’ve not really played with before. We’re usually in the city or on the prairie. We’ve never been by the sea. It gave us some very obvious reference points for materials and styling: shells and jellies and Aran sweaters; things that are very beachy and summery. But it’s not what you’d typically expect as beachwear.”
The clothes were “love-worn”
Vevers’s city-to-beach motif shaped a collection founded in a kind of adaptability and resourcefulness that removed it from beachy clichés and brought it back to Coach’s somewhat grittier territory. Super-relaxed tailored leather outerwear defined the show, styled with shorts so short you could barely see them. Oversized Aran knits played to the same silhouette, patched up and pieced together as they’d existed for a hundred years. “They’re pieces that feel as if they could have had another life: an exploration of burnishing, patina… There’s almost nothing that doesn’t have a treatment or isn’t made of pre-worn materials,” Vevers said, explaining how important it is for him to experiment with sustainable techniques and circularity.
Lil Nas X closed the show
As the show’s closing look, Lil Nas X hit the boardwalk to mark his new gig as Coach’s global ambassador. Done up in the braids that defined the show’s hair styling, it took a while for the audience to recognize the star. But eventually, you could see iPhones being raised in synchronized movement before Vevers came out to take his bow with the artist. As part of the Coach cast – which, it has to be said, is always on point – you could see why Vevers had chosen Lil Nas X as his new poster boy: a fitting representative of the fluid, progressive youth this brand is aimed at.
Stuart Vevers once met the Queen
As an Englishman abroad, it felt only appropriate to ask Vevers to share his thoughts on the death of Queen Elizabeth II. “I’ve actually met the Queen,” he beamed. “She opened a new wing of the University of Westminster while I was there, and we put on a fashion show for her. I had a piece in the show and I got to shake her hand,” he said. “She’s someone who’s been such a constant in so many of our lives; so stable and respected. Maybe because we’ve grown up with her, whether it’s on the news or watching The Crown, we know so much about the different stages of her life. We feel such a strong connection.”
Originally published in Vogue.co.uk