Varsity Hues

It was almost inevitable that after the hulking shearlings and the badged-up bikers from seasons before that Stuart Vevers would take on the mighty varsity for Coach’s A/W 16 collection, shown in New York in February.  There could have been a danger of dipping into varsity fatigue.  Re-shaped, recoloured and personalised – it’s been through most incarnations in the last two years.  Thankfully though, Vever’s Americana-filter isn’t limited to the jocks of his cinematic nostalgia (specifically Rob Lowe as national ice hockey hopeful in Youngblood).  Or chipper cheerleaders with dazzling smiles.  In Coach’s gymnasium – a stone throw’s away from their brand spanking new headquarters – there was an overhang from spring summer’s successful prairie-inspired florals, informed by Jodie Foster’s character in Taxi Driver as well as 1970s sepia and tanned tones that could have also matched up with Velma’s chunky poloneck in Scooby Doo (another reference).

These seemingly disparate slices of TV and film were stitched and patched together in what Vevers called an “American quilt of sorts”.   In the case of the panelled blouses with ruffled collars the patchwork was literal.  As were the patches of Coach motifs and secret insignia tacked onto the cropped varsities and visibly stitched-up bags.  It’s always been a giddy fascination for me that Coach has brought out this playful and unapologetically fun side to Vevers’ work and the use of a childish print, replete with Gem-esque stars and clouds, follows in this vein.  The metallic loafers styled up with curved blocky heels and studs were a kookier take on Velma’s crimefighting shoe of choice.  Cutie upticks aside, the collection once again hones in on sturdy outerwear like trusty peacoats and parkas as well as motif knitwear that has meant their ready to wear can sit in places like colette and Opening Ceremony and not feel out of place.  As Coach’s revival under Vevers reaches a two year milestone, it might still be too soon to say it’s hit a touchdown or a home run (to borrow from letterman jacket vernacular), but the journey for me at least, as a willing ambassador, is definitely a fruitful one.  Especially if it includes quilted pink cloud prints and pearl buttoned patchwork dresses.


























11 Replies to “Varsity Hues”

  1. Hard not to detect the Gucci similarities, especially in the pearl buttoned and frilled blouses, leather jackets with patches and the loafers, of course the loafers…although the Coach designer threw in his own “little house on the prairie meets high school kitsch” vibe. Alessandro Michele has certainly been the influencer over the past couple of seasons, from Erdem to everybody else who is offering a version of those floaty crepe silk frilled dresses harkening back to romanticism of old, a time that, in France, aristocrats were losing their heads all too easily and literally…while dressing in the height of finery as the peasants knew not where their next meal might come from.If Marie Antoinette were around today, or if I were but her, Michele would likely be her/my court designer. But those are the dreams of little girls dressing their Barbies. let’s hope those of us in the US can keep our heads while those around us are losing theirs to the media assault that tells us Americans how to think about what they are daily spoon fed through that silly little screen (TV, or computer) and even what we see with our own eyes as we approach this important election.The outcome will affect the entire world and likely be reflected in the post election fashion shows, not because USA is the best, or Number One, rah, rah rah, (there’s your varsity reference), but because its might and uninvited (many times) interference in the rest of world has shown no bounds or restraint since the end of WWII. BTW, you have greatly honed your writing skills and your analysis of the fashion world reflects your unique and thoughtful viewpoint, one that I enjoy reading. Thanks.

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