#SuzyNYFW: Coach Moves From the Prairie to New York City-1
©Filippo Fior /

What?! No scrawny trees or smashed, abandoned vehicles? No sense of the badlands on a scrubby road trip? Instead, a new, clean, plain part of Manhattan’s High Line, without any of its flourishing nature offering decorative greenery.

Coach was planning on a new adventure – but one that started and ended in New York City. “There’s a lot of evolution and change in my sixth anniversary at Coach, and I’m also very conscious that this is a new decade,” said Creative Director Stuart Vevers.“We are very deliberately in the city with no reference to road trips or prairie,” he continued. “I love the idea of a collection that is completely focused on being in the light of day in an inspiring part of the city. There is a dialogue between my personal obsessions, and what I feel is inherently Coach.”

#SuzyNYFW: Coach Moves From the Prairie to New York City-2
©Armanda Grillo /

At the centre of the company flourishing in America for 78 years are the handbags. In fact, they are not only the heart and soul of the brand’s empire, but also the only product it produced until the second decade of the new millennium. The designer’s job has therefore been to fill the void with imaginary fashion products that grew into what is distinctively Coach today.

#SuzyNYFW: Coach Moves From the Prairie to New York City-3
©Filippo Fior /

“I would describe the collection as stripped back and upbeat, and that for me is quite representative of New York City,” Vevers said. “There’s a lot of everyday wear and an investigation of the trench, which was not something that I have explored before but feels like it could be part of Coach’s heritage. I was able to imagine it with some of the attitude of a gang.“

#SuzyNYFW: Coach Moves From the Prairie to New York City-4
©Filippo Fior /

It was therefore a Coach show grounded on hefty shoes and flat sandals but with a touch of Pop culture, using Richard Bernstein’s illustrations. An army belt looped at the back of almost every outfit should perhaps be interpreted as a powerful accessory, come the revolution. The urban tribes might equally wear scarlet coats with the designer’s overall addiction to red and to sportswear. American actor Michael B. Jordan, the face of the Coach brand, was cheering on the show from the audience.

#SuzyNYFW: Coach Moves From the Prairie to New York City-5
©Armanda Grillo /
#SuzyNYFW: Coach Moves From the Prairie to New York City-6
©Armando Grillo /

It was smart of the designer to turn Coach away from the Wild West and Great Plains to something more urban. And what was lost in prairie prettiness was gained in a tougher gender-neutral attitude appropriate to the fresh decade., in any art form, outsiders pack the most punch. The British designer, raised in England’s gritty northern area, has negotiated tough terrain to make Coach relevant as a fashion brand, as well as for the 78 bags on show to celebrate the leather goods brand’s foundation in 1941.“It’s that combination of the brand with my personal obsessions,” said Vevers. “The soundtrack is not the American New Wave scene, it’s the British New Wave scene. It’s The Human League. I grew up in Doncaster, they’re from Sheffield, so it’s a Yorkshire soundtrack for an American New Wave inspiration. I like to call it the new New Wave!”