What do you get when a classic American heritage brand that has segued from baseball mitts into handbags, clothing and leather goods, meets one of the hottest rappers on the music scene right now? You get Coach’s Spring 2023 runway show, that’s what.
Held in the soaring 55,000 sq ft Charles Clinton-designed Wade Thompson Drill Hall of the Park Avenue Armory, the storied 81-year-old New York brand used one of the major events on the international fashion calendar to stylishly introduce Lil Nas X, its newest global ambassador, while presenting a collection that fluidly combines references from past and present and looks dreamily towards a future brimming with possibilities.
No stranger to the music scene and very much a groundbreaking star and icon of pop culture in his own right, Lil Nas X made his first-ever runway appearance for Coach on Sept 12 wearing a black leather-washed vest and shorts ensemble paired with long braids, a jelly gold-glitter Tabby bag and purple jelly sandals.
“It was such a fun experience,” said the multi-platinum artist, singer and songwriter, who will unveil his first campaign for the house next month. “I’m super excited to make my debut as a face of Coach, a fashion house that believes in a lot of the same things as me.”
Against a stage built to resemble a dream-like New York City pier at sunrise, the collection featured a medley of looks, with leather as the overarching element while details such as gender-neutral jelly sandals and Peter Pan-collared dresses injected playfulness and youthfulness.
Conceptualised by Stuart Vevers, Coach’s creative director, the entire collection was framed around its core values, which include heritage (the brand’s rich history and Americana DNA were referenced via varsity-inspired sweaters, gingham, distressed denim workwear and chunky fisherman’s sweaters), circularity (many of the pieces were designed with multiple lives in mind) and fluidity (the clothes offer unbridled and courageous avenues for self-expression and style experimentation).
“To tell this story on the runway, I imagined a Coach world inspired by New York City’s piers, a place with a unique cultural legacy and a unique feeling of possibility,” said Vevers. “With Spring, I wanted to evolve notions of luxury that place an emphasis on perfection. Inspired by the next generation’s fluid approach to fashion, the collection celebrates pieces that become more beautiful the more they are worn and loved, and references to the past rediscovered in the present. I was also thrilled to partner with Lil Nas X on his first runway show as part of our presentation — he is the epitome of the next generation’s inspiring approach to self-expression.”
The packed-out audience included cool kids such as basketball star P J Tucker, rapper Doja Cat and English singer-songwriter Charli XCX as well as powerhouse doyennes Vogue’s Dame Anna Wintour and New York governor Kathy Hochul. Underscoring Coach’s popularity locally, a contingent of prominent Malaysian personalities was also on hand to represent, including singer-songwriter Yuna, rapper Joe Flizzow, singer-songwriter Daiyan Trisha, TV host Yaya Zahir and fashion influencer Christinna Kuan.
This article first appeared on Sept 26, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.