Stuart Vevers proved a most popular host at Coach’s presentation on Thursday afternoon, with every editor clamoring for just a few minutes of his time.
And why not? Four months ago, the British-born Vevers was brought to New York (from Barcelona, where he had been the creative director for Loewe since 2007) to be the new executive creative director for Coach, succeeding Reed Krakoff, who parted ways with the $1 billion label to concentrate on his eponymous brand. This presentation is the reveal of Vevers’s first collection, and for Fall/Winter 2014 he has wasted no time putting his stamp on Coach; indeed, there’s undeniably an edgier, almost rocker-chic vibe about much of the collection, from great wedge boots with shearling linings to a really terrific studded-leather oversized top-handle tote. A still-life presentation was heavy on the black, but the runway presentation that followed proved that Vevers isn’t afraid of color: We loved the red and black blanket-cloth coats, as well as a whimsical rocket sweater accented in bright yellow. But don’t think Vevers is going to abandon the Coach DNA: Look closely at the details, in the hardware on a bag or the precise tailoring on a jacket. That said, make no mistake: This is not your grandmother’s Coach.
So who is Stuart Vevers? Amid Thursday’s hubbub, we managed to grab a few minutes with him to answer some essential questions.
Vevers's design aesthetic: "I’ve worked for a lot of brands, but [my aesthetic] doesn’t adjust and adapt when I work for different brands. I like taking risks, I like being bold, I like color. To me it always goes back to a cool girl; does she look cool? That’s the defining question."
How that’s reflected in his first Coach collection: "For me the most important thing was to redefine what Coach means, as well as mixing in that kind of New York, urban-cool attitude, and juxtaposing utilitarian references with more luxurious ones. That to me starts to fundamentally define what Coach is.”
His pedigree: "I’ve been lucky enough to work for some amazing leather-goods brands: Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton, Mulberry, and Givenchy, among them, so I bring all that experience to New York to work on Coach. I didn’t want to do what I’ve done before; I wanted to do something that felt right and believable for Coach. Start the next chapter, get things going, have some fun."
Best movie he saw recently: "That would be Her. I thought it was kind of amazing. I loved how it looked, how it felt."
Favorite films? “It’s always a toss-up, either Working Girl or Jaws. I referenced a lot of American cinema in this collection. I like women with a real individuality, like Sissy Spacek in Badlands or Shelley Duvall in The Shining.”
Favorite place to travel: "I’ve traveled in the U.S. a lot and really love it, and I think I’ve referenced that travel a lot in this collection. I almost imagine a girl starting in New York on a road trip and then coming back here, so it’s Americana seen through an urban eye.”