Prepare To Change Your Feelings About Coach

Photo: Courtesy of Coach.
The other day, an old buddy of mine and I found out that we had both just dropped by Coach. This was weird, because our styles had always been complete opposites: Growing up, she was the quintessential Coach girl. (In my mind, she's never without one of the many monogram handbags she's collected through the years). I, on the other hand, haven't visited a Coach store since high school, when I toyed with the idea of becoming a canvas-logo-shoulder-bag girl myself. But this week, we both hit up the shop for a new spring handbag. I sprung for one that caught me off guard nearly six months ago during the September shows: a periwinkle-purple tote with a charming spotted monster created by artist Gary Baseman. My friend left empty-handed. "The salesperson said they stopped doing logo bags," she told me over the phone. "Those monster things were really weird."

Indeed, creative director Stuart Vevers has experimented with taking the Coach brand in a different direction than we remembered from our mall-rat days. It's younger, but somehow more sophisticated, quirkier, and bolder, too. It's scrapping some of the hallmarks that made it a suburban staple, and refocusing on the products and categories that make fashion girls sweat: supple leather coats, candy-colored bags, and accessories that'll get as many compliments as side-eyes.

For his third collection, Vevers has shown that he's really departing from jacquard canvas and hobo bags, but he's also reining in the quirky offerings only cool to fashion weirdos (guilty as charged) with a line of beautiful shearling coats, lovely leather toppers, flattering dresses, and staple accessories. (The bandanas, in particular, have already inspired Fashion Week attendees to break out their scarves). Vevers' wink is still there, in the form of pins, knit skulls, and embroidered script, but the overall vibe is timelessness, which my friend can appreciate.

No logo bags, of course, but I have a feeling she'll dig those mini duffels and funnel-neck sweaters. As for me: That plaid biker vest is mine, mine, mine.   

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