There was much anticipation leading up to Coach’s Spring 2023 show at New York Fashion Week, with plenty of rumours involving a certain award-winning rapper as the new ambassador. However, all were put to rest when multi-platinum artist, singer and songwriter Lil Nas X took the stage to close the runway show held at the Park Avenue Armory. But I’m getting ahead of the story.
One of the best things about fashion shows is the guests, and no one was disappointed with huge names such as South Korean actor Yoon Chan-Young, Kōki, Conan Gray, and Doja Cat. Representing Malaysia were singer-songwriter Yuna, rapper Joe Flizzow, singer-songwriter Daiyan Trisha, TV host Yaya Zahir and fashion influencer Christinna Kuan.
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With a warm pinkish glow cast on the back of the stage—where a lone bench sat along with a lamppost and several other staples one might find at a pier—the setting represented a dreamlike New York City pier, complete with a white boardwalk at the edge. As the lights dimmed and the music began, models in pairs and groups took their positions on stage in their respective roles—a couple taking a stroll at the pier, a group of friends dancing around the lamppost or a casual passerby holding a red balloon. It was dreamy, romantic and pure happenstance.
This was a teaser of Coach’s new repositioning—from accessible luxury to expressive luxury that encompasses many values close to the Gen Z consumer. The audience craves individuality yet requires a nod to heritage and pop culture, freedom of expression in any form, and the most critical topic these days, sustainability.
Coach Creative Director Stuart Vevers managed to do so effortlessly as the Spring 2023 collection was both familiar and new. It was unmistakably American, notable with leather and denim pieces. But the ready-to-wear collection presented leathers with patchwork, charmingly love-worn hand-knit fisherman’s sweaters, overdyed varsity sweaters and distressed denim workwear. Babydoll and gingham dresses were reworked with black lace, while bags had been crafted from repurposed leather jackets and football leather.
The collection notes perfectly described it:
"A celebration of finding the personal in the universal, things lost and found, loved and re-loved—discovered and rediscovered."
On the accessories front, the stars were the new imaginations of the Coach Tabby bag: the luscious soft leather version in an oversized messenger style and the jelly variation in bright candy colours with matching jelly sandals. While it gave me major 2000s throwback vibes, it was also apt to match the beachy theme on set.
After 45 looks, Lil Nas X took the stage for his first-ever runway appearance, marking his official debut as the new global ambassador for Coach as well as the first ambassador under the house’s new chapter of “Expressive Luxury”.
“It was such a fun experience being part of the Coach show and walking on my first runway ever,” said Lil Nas X. “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. I can’t wait to share all of the other amazing things I’ve been working on with Stuart and his team very soon.”
The first Coach campaign with Lil Nas X will be revealed as soon as next month, and with this appointment, the brand is hopeful this direction will help inspire confidence in the next generation.
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