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NYFW AW18: Maximalist cool at Coach

Sandra Halliday
14 February 2018

It can often be hard to find something new to say about Coach. Stuart Vevers has found a winning formula and has stuck with it. His own brand of maximalism pre-dates the Gucci-driven maximalist trend and features a quirky celebration of Americana with an infusion of Brit boy cool.

Whether he ever has the urge to do minimalist, or frothy, or corporate, or glamour, or even athleisure, we’ll probably never know as long as his look continues to sell.

So what is the Coach message for AW18? Well, as mentioned, it’s pretty much the same message as last season, and the one before.

But the label is evolving. For a start, it’s offering more for after-dark dressing these days. And while it hasn’t quite leapt into the gala gowns segment, its long, trailing floral and leaf print silks should go down a storm with the edgier big names of the entertainment industry (like brand ambassador Selena Gomez who’s already been snapped in one or two).

The dresses have a soft romantic feel but don’t make the mistake of thinking this is Laura Ashley-style romance. Yes, it’s pretty. Yes, there’s a hint of prairie and a hint of 70s, but there’s a bigger hint of Goth and the Coach slip dresses, as always, are more Courtney Love than Love Is. They come with plenty of leather detail that always keeps them tied into the Coach concept because this is a leathergoods label above all else.

The daywear offer features long dress lengths too with skinny, multicolour, studded leather jackets adding just the right level of toughness to the sheer dresses. In fact, if there’s one item from this collection that’s a must-have other than a sheer dress, it’s likely to be a simple zip-up leather jacket with plenty of decoration to add interest.

The importance of the leather jackets underlines the fat that there’s also an increasingly genderless edge to every Coach collection as those jackets, plus the quilted coats, anoraks, shearling coats and slouchy shearling biker jackets, embellished denim and skinny pants would work as well for either sex.

Many of the men’s shoes and boots would probably appeal to a female shopper too, although the women’s footwear offer this time round is appealing enough on its own account. Think multicolour, close-fit ankle boots with snakeskin uppers or fuzzy, studded slides.

And one thing that can’t be ignored is the intense level of detail in all of these pieces. Leather nameplates, tasselled fringes, embellished appliqués, leather buckles, colour blocked footwear and accessories, pinked leather edging, rustic leather bag charms, embossed yokes, whipstitching and much more.

It’s a thrift shop style with a boho edge. But while the prices certainly aren’t thrift shop level, there’s no denying that Coach is a whole lot more affordable than the mass of designer labels these days, which is especially impressive given that the amount of detail featured doesn’t usually come cheap.

And detail is key for the bag offer (hey, this is Coach after all, we can’t forget about the bags). Oversized totes provide a perfect canvas for embellishment and are teamed with detail-heavy mini bags. They'll give Coach plenty to sell come this autumn. Let’s face it, we can talk about the clothes until we’re blue in the face but when it comes down to it, bags are what this company is all about.

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