Show Report

Show Report: Coach A/W 16 Menswear

by Lou Stoppard on 13 January 2016

Lou Stoppard reports on the Coach A/W 16 menswear show.

Lou Stoppard reports on the Coach A/W 16 menswear show.

Coach have become major players on the London scene. They know how to put on a show - they get the big models, play good music and push out the younger brands when it comes to securing coverage from the press. But it’s not his home country that gets British designer Stuart Vevers going. Since his appointment in 2013 he’s been exploring Americana - fitting given Coach’s roots. It’s a smart strategy. Coach offers mass luxury - price points may be high but design is low. That’s a compliment. He works with clean styles, easy colours, basic shapes. It’s refreshing and it fits the brief I imagine he was given. That approach was particularly obvious for A/W 16 - the show notes talked of ‘everyday American Life’ and championing ‘blue-collar masculine style’, citing Bruce Springsteen and the early days of New York hip hop. The influence of the latter was more subtle - prevalent only in styling additions. But, when pondering Springsteen's style, one started to understand. Springsteen was rarely out of basics - jeans, checked shirts, leather. That's what what was present here - hard-working staples for the style-conscious. It appeals to the style pack who think trying hard is uncool - the kind of 'sigh and scowl at the street' style pack - and the masses who want quality but are keen to play it safe.

For a few seasons, numerous brands have been toying with lived-in luxury - in other words, pieces that look like they’ve been lived in for years; faded knits, distressed edging and the like. We’ve seen it at Prada and Bottega Veneta most recently. Given that perceptions of luxury are in flux, it’s a relatively smart and seductive proposition. There’s a quip in British class-conscious culture that the richest members of society are the sloppiest dressers - all tatty blazers, ripped trousers and hand-me downs. It’s because they don’t need to try - they have nothing to prove. That spirit seems to be seeping in luxury culture. Vevers talked of this being ‘ungracious’. He mentioned ‘embracing the authenticity and character that comes of imperfection’ and ‘naive simplicity.’ He showed us clothes we already have, but made us want them again. Stock up.



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