IN AN AGE WHEN WE’RE CONSTANTLY ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THE NEXT SHINY NEW THING WHILE REPEATEDLY LOOKING TO THE PAST FOR INSPIRATION, COACH HAS FOUND A HAPPY MEDIUM: RESTORE ITS FOUND ARCHIVAL DESIGNS TO APPEAL TO VINTAGE FIENDS; REMIX SAID PIECES TO CREATE ONE-OF-A-KIND STYLES THAT EPITOMISE “OLD MEETS NEW”; AS WELL AS REMAKE THEM WITH A MODERN TWIST TO KEEP ALL THAT LEGACY GOING. IN COLLABORATION WITH THE AMERICAN LABEL, FEMALE INTRODUCES THE COACH ORIGINALS EXPERIENCE LANDING HERE THIS MONTH.
Exhibit A: The Duffle, a slouchy shoulder tote that dates back to 1971 and one of the many bags from Coach’s nearly 80-year-old archive that’s been referenced and “remade” as a new style under the Coach Originals collection
Last September, Coach brought a fashionable alternative to the three “R”s to its Madison Avenue boutique in New York during Fashion Week, complete with a museum-style makeover of sorts that saw the store’s facade and walls plastered in nostalgic newspaper print. Welcome to Coach Originals: a pop-up concept in which the three “R”s stood for “Restored”, “Remixed” and “Remade” and the real show was the brand’s rich array of archival bags that underwent one of those treatments. (And ,yes, they were for retail.)
Anyone familiar with the label would know how its vintage bags have not only remained well-loved blueprints for its seasonal designs, but are also sought-after collector’s pieces. (Those created by the American sportswear pioneer Bonnie Cashin in the ’60s and ’70s are particularly in demand with their pragmatic yet chic shapes and details like the nowsignature turnlock clasp introduced in 1964).
Coach Originals was meant to honour that history as well as be a reminder of creative director Stuart Vevers’ knack for bringing it forward. “Coach originals is both nostalgic and new,” he said. “I wanted to create an experience that’s unexpected to celebrate our heritage in a colourful, playful and irreverent way.” This month, it arrives at the brand’s Wisma Atria flagship with the same urban cool set-up. One of the “R”s, “Remixed”, which sees vintage bags combined to create novel styles (think a Triple Dinky made up of three Dinky shoulder bags sewn together) won’t be reprised here, but the other two more than make up for it.
The “Restored” part alone is likely to surprise many: The brand has hunted down original vintage designs released in the past, then lovingly cleaned them to make them good enough for sale again. Meanwhile “Remade” is an eye-popping collection of 78 new bag styles inspired by archival silhouettes (yes, including some of Cashin’s most iconic) first revealed on the brand’s Spring/Summer 2020 runway.
The range spans everyday-perfect totes to elegant top-handles, each possessing the brand’s signature soft lines and joyful play with colours. So true they are to Coach’s heritage that some might not be able to tell them apart from the “Restored” pieces, but, hey, that’s 78 more options to reinvent for the future.
(Left) A gallery of bags from Coach’s archives, all “Restored”, “Remixed” or “Remade” as part of the brand’s Coach Originals concept and testimony to its rich history
Turnlock leather shoulder bag and cupro dress. (Opposite) Turnlock leather clutch, Zip Geometric crossbody bag, leather trench coat, cupro dress and leather sandals. All bags, Coach Originals, and all clothes and other accessories, Coach 1941, all from Coach. Septum ring (used throughout), model’s own
Zip leather pouch, leather jacket and cupro dress. (Opposite) Turnlock Flap leather crossbody bags, cotton tank top and leather skirt
HAIR & MAKEUP MANISA TAN, ASSIS TED BY PIYAPORN, USING REVLON PROFESSIONAL & ESTEE LAUDER MODEL ZLA TAKRAS/ LOOQUE