Amer­i­can DREAM

All eyes are on Coach as the global ac­ces­sories brand tran­si­tions into a well-rounded fash­ion and life­style house. By Jef­frey Yan.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - Style -

Marc Ja­cobs. Ni­co­las Gh­esquière. Emma Hill. Th­ese and a host of other il­lus­tri­ous fash­ion names were among the ones thrown about re­cently when it was an­nounced that Reed Krakoff was leav­ing the top spot at Coach and a suc­ces­sor had yet to be an­nounced. That de­sign­ers of their cal­i­bre and rep­u­ta­tion were spec­u­lated on for the po­si­tion shows how far the brand has come in repo­si­tion­ing it­self. It has al­ways been a lu­cra­tive busi­ness since its be­gin­nings in the 1940s but even five years ago, it would have been hard to imag­ine Coach be­ing such a large part of fash­ion con­ver­sa­tion.

The brand owes a lot of its suc­cess to Krakoff. Hav­ing been at the helm for 17 years, he had steered Coach from the logo-ma­nia of the late ’90s and early 2000s to the mini re­nais­sance it’s en­joy­ing now. Last year saw the launch of the Legacy col­lec­tion, which ref­er­ences its beloved duf­fle sacs and brings back a chic Amer­i­can sen­si­bil­ity from its 1970s archives.

This sea­son, the com­pany is push­ing full steam ahead and look­ing to ex­pand its em­pire by grow­ing into other prod­uct cat­e­gories. Shoes have made a come­back, now with a much wider se­lec­tion. Menswear has been beefed up to bet­ter serve one of the fastest grow­ing seg­ments of its au­di­ence (men com­prised three per­cent of to­tal cus­tomers in 2008; in 2012 it was 30 per­cent). To be an all-in­clu­sive life­style brand, it now churns out prod­ucts at all lev­els from watches and jew­ellery to eye­wear, per­fumes and tech ac­ces­sories, and even fun kitschy pieces like plush toys and board games.

But the most ex­cit­ing de­vel­op­ment in this new chap­ter of Coach is its of­fer­ing of ready-to-wear. On that end, they have roped in San­dra Hill as head of wom­enswear. Pre­vi­ously at Paul Smith, she has brought with her an easy-towear youth­ful­ness to her new po­si­tion. Coach’s first ready-to-wear col­lec­tion will be a tightly edited cap­sule col­lec­tion launched in Novem­ber with a strong fo­cus on out­er­wear. Cus­tomers can ex­pect plenty of on-trend mil­i­taryin­spired pea­coats and capes. Trench coats come in but­tery soft leather as well as in suede and shear­ling. Like most of its bags, colours are pop and bright; think yel­low, hot pinks, and turquoise with lash­ings of graphic an­i­mal prints.

The Coach Au­tumn/ Win­ter ’13 pre­view at its Hong Kong flag­ship store

The Coach Au­tumn/ Win­ter ’13 pre­view at its Hong Kong flag­ship store

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