Stuart Vevers launches Coach flagship store

Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Coach

11th December 2014

Last week, my very dear friend Stuart Vevers was in town for the launch of the Coach flagship store on Rodeo Drive. Coach is a heritage brand that – under his guidance as creative director – has been undergoing something of a metamorphosis and if you didn’t know it before, this event certainly did the job of shouting it loud. Since being on board, Stuart has been in the process of ‘resetting’ the brand as he calls it and I was very excited to see this happening. We first met years ago through his cousin footwear designer Jonathan Kelsey while we were all at college. I’ve been both a fan and a supporter of his work since and he has worked with some of the biggest luxury labels in the world, starting at Calvin Klein before moving on to Bottega Veneta, Mulberry and Loewe. Stuart’s always been a strong champion of emerging talent and this is evident in his choice of ‘models’ for the current campaign. ‘Coach Dreamers’ was created with some of the biggest creative names in the industry (including art director Fabien Baron, stylist Karl Templer and photographer Mikael Jansson) but eschews the usual band of major models in favour of singers and actors including Zoe Kravitz, Banks, Odeya Rush and Christopher Abbott.

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Zoë Kravitz in the Coach F/W 14 – by Mikael Jansson

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Banks in the Coach F/W 14 – by Mikael Jansson

It’s precisely this blend of the established and the new that attracted Coach to Stuart in the first place and I’m so excited to see how the brand develops in the coming seasons. Stuart asked me to style gorgeous photographer Rachel Chandler in Coach for the Met ball earlier this year and she looked gorgeous. The project came in very last minute but I got to work side by side with Stuart and Rachel designing the actual look which was really exciting.

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The unusual weather (for LA) didn’t dampen any excitement about the evening, and as I drove down Rodeo Drive to the store, I clocked the ‘round the block’ queue for the after-party that had already begun forming. The store itself didn’t disappoint. In the same way a magpie (or a drag queen!) is drawn to anything that glitters, I have the same compulsion towards anything leopard. We were lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the Spring/Summer 15 collection in store which we saw being worn beautifully in person by model Dillon Xue who modelled for the Coach look book. I made a mental shopping list in lightning speed before I was swept up in a big bear hug by Stuart.

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Coach Backstage Rodeo Drive

Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Coach

Stuart and I have been friends for what seems like an eternity and the measure of a true friend is that it always feels like no time has elapsed since we last saw each other. As if to reinforce that notion, I then walked straight into Kate Bosworth. Looking gorgeous in a peach leather zip front mini dress and stacked leather clogs (both Coach, naturally) we all headed to the after-party on the roof of an adjacent car park. Instantly you could sense the London vibe and not just because of the wretched weather.

Coach Backstage Rodeo Drive

Photo by Chris Weeks/Getty Images for Coach

Coach Backstage Rodeo Drive

Photo by Chris Weeks/Getty Images for Coach

I was gobsmacked by the amount of food on offer (this was a fashion party after all!) and everyone tucked into lobster rolls and tacos whilst huddled under the canopies. The vast rooftop was punctuated by huge inflatable globes daubed with cute, cartoon creatures by LA-based artist Gary Baseman.  I’m a big fan of Gary’s work so meeting him in person was yet another element making this event one that I would not forget in a hurry. I noticed Gary’s work adorning a variety of pieces from the new collection when I first walked into the Coach store. The t-shirts will be a must-have and a sell-out without a doubt. Kate and I got chatting to Gary about his collaboration with Stuart and Coach and we were delighted when he produced his personal sketch book to talk us though his work. You can see more of his work here: www.garybaseman.com

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Photo Dec 11, 9 30 39 PM

Without further ado, the party was cranked up more than a few notches when Skyler Gray took to the stage. Chloe Sevigny, Kirsten Dunst and Juno Temple were among the revellers dancing along to the tunes and I also bumped into singer and musical artist Lo-Fang who I dressed earlier in the year for a Chanel event (they provided the cover track for the latest Chanel campaign). It was only after Kid Cudi began his set did the crowd really start to ‘ave it large’ as we like to say in the UK.

Coach Backstage Rodeo Drive

Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Coach

Photo Dec 11, 10 01 46 PM

cudi

Photo by Chris Weeks/Getty Images for Coach

I ended up surrounded by a whole bunch of the Brits – myself, Stuart, Nikki Bidder and George MacPherson from Starworks who organised the event, model scout Annie Wilshaw and last (but certainly not least) fashion filmmaker Alyn Horton. It was almost disorientating how much this felt like being back in London. The party was also the latest instalment of’ Coach Backstage’, an initiative to recognise and support emerging talent – you can find out more and listen to new artists through an online music chart on Coach.com

The night made me really proud of Stuart’s success and achievements and it started me thinking about how I was lucky enough to receive pieces from him at each of the labels he’s worked on over the years. I look forward to adding more to my collection from Coach but in the meantime, here are some of my favourite pieces from the current collection:

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‘Page’ shoulder bag in printed haircalf – click HERE to buy

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Shearling coat – click HERE to buy

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Urban hiker boot – click HERE to buy

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Patterned silk-piece dress – click HERE to buy

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‘Apollo’ crew neck sweater – click HERE to buy

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‘Cameo’ pendant necklace – I love this piece so much I put it on Rachel Chandler when I dressed her for the Met ball and also made some more into matching hair clips too – click HERE to buy