#SuzyNYFW Coach 1941: Unravelling The Prairie

Taking a central role in the vast Coach arena was an epic creature – a brontosaurus. But put together with a decrepit car and various broken objects, this was not a noble vision of Big Country America.

And that is how creative director Stuart Vevers wanted it, the better to give an edge to the prairie look he has designed for Coach 1941.

This summer collection was not as bleak and black as last season’s.  

“It’s more like part two of our fall collection,” the designer explains.

“She was a romantic goth last season and here she is still a dreamer but it’s about unravelling the prairie.”

Vevers said he was struck by the run-down state of tiny country communities with just a scattering of dilapidated buildings. 

“Sometimes half the house was propped by an airplane wing, and there was something about the feeling of salvaging the American heirlooms which became a big part of this collection.”

Wouldn’t this scruffy country world mean ragged and rough clothes? Far from it, for ankle length skirts were teamed with a boldly knitted top, or a white ruffled skirt would partner with an elegant turquoise coat. The men were more casually dressed, but in fine fabrics from leather to shearling.

Then there was Disney. Dumbo the elephant popped up on a sweater; Bambi on a barrel bag. And Captain Hook on an intarsia sweater that you would never find down on the farm.

In the show notes, Coach defined the Disney collaboration as “re-mixing beloved American pop culture icons”. That is one way of describing a Bambi hoodie!

“It was the idea that we were salvaging and scavenging these references – that’s what I really loved,” the designer said.

The torn, soiled prairie landscape was not much different from last season’s show. But Vevers has succeeded in conjuring out of the air a wardrobe for Coach, a brand known, until recently, primarily for handbags.

He waxed lyrical over the Disney connections and especially using the Seventies’ ‘Aristocats’ movie and creating what he calls a “twisted fairy tale”.

“I imagine the Coach gang, near Santa Fe, near the mountains so there’s a little bit of a mountaineering thread,” Vevers said.

“That brings something very authentic and real which I think Coach should always have.”