Over the span of two seasons Coach have managed to transcend their reputation as a basic, mall queen, Abercrombie & Fitchesque clone. I know that owning a Coach handbag is a big deal if you're from North America but in Australia the brand seems to have hardly made waves, save for the last two runway collections. In a kind of metamorphosis they have since become one of the must-see events at New York Fashion Week. Last season the crowds were treated to a collection of sugary sweet fur-trimmed coats, taking everyone by surprise but begging the question could they keep it up? As it turns out we need not have worried since their 2015 Fall collection was just as spectacular but for a variety of different reasons. Muted tones featured heavily with a greater emphasis on texture and materials such as leather and shearling. These were balanced by badass babe vibes provided by bandannas and chic handbags and tasseled loafers. The collection was composed of the perfect staple jackets for Winter, in contrast to the previous which was perhaps canvasing the brand's new and exciting alternate persona.
The collection featured an ensemble cast of waifish girls swaddled in shearling coats, each outfit being carefully composed and well articulated. This combined with the art direction and photographed landscape sitting behind the models was heavily reminiscent of previous collections from Rodarte. Unlike Rodarte however, there is a distinct absence of dresses worthy of the red carpet which has been instead replaced by real world grit and chic sweaters. I was also reminded of Balenciaga mimicking the same crisp sense of presentation and especially with those buckled ankle boots. Rather than representing a stereotype of exaggeration of American street style, Coach has adopted to refine the archetype and brought back a sense of class and elegance. Of course this is easily achieved when a whole army of stylists, makeup artists and designers worked and contributed to the sum effect of this look but it's a nice ideal to hang on to. I'll definitely try to keep this collection in mind during the cooler months when comfort slowly begins to overtake style in terms of priorities and precedence.
Normally I like to make comparisons with some sort of pop culture referencing when reviewing a collection but it's a bit more difficult to put my finger on a definite trace or source. Obviously this was made by Americans for the consumption of Americans and those who idolize the land of the free but I like to think that things are a bit more complex than that. While I would describe this look as lumberjack chic it doesn't have the same lucid aesthetic as that of Twin Peaks and less knitwear and plaid skirts than the aforementioned reference. Instead it is a little more rough, rugged and practical and yet the sling bags, eyeshadow and layering of sheer does not make the masculine undertones overwhelming. For one thing the silhouette of many of the outfits is quite feminine with the legs visible and yet the coats are rather bulky and engulf the figure. The boots are thick and more like snow boots which New Yorkers would have needed in the event of a serious snowstorm (the one which never hit).
Although black leather jackets are somewhat of a cult staple amongst the Tumblr tribe I've noticed that fashion editors and bloggers alike seldom incorporate these as part of their outfits. I've put this down to the simple reason that the fashion elite like to cycle through the latest trends and the antithesis of that would be a timeless piece like a leather jacket. Arty creative types will have discovered that they can update and customise their own jackets with pins, patches and for a select few, fabric paint. So really since they're not an identifiable piece of clothing and in a way they're non-unique these two fashion tribes (or classes if you will) have been split right down the middle. I don't really know how to feel about this rationalization since I am constantly trying to figure out where I am and where I sit within the blogosphere hierarchy but obviously I am trying to aim for bigger and better things. The same could be said for large pendleton and woolen coats. I think since Coach have produced a series of jackets which are minimalist in design but don't compromise warmth, both parties can be appeased and may embrace this collection with equal affection but we'll have to wait and see.
Over the last couple of years the biggest changes to my personal style and what interests me is undoubtedly texture. During Winter and the Fall my imagination can run rampant and experiment with different layers in order to create a striking silhouette. Obviously during Summer resources are a bit limited and it makes sense to wear colourful sunglasses or accessories in order to make up for it. What caught me off guard was the use of sheer skirts worn over charcoal grey skirts with those heavy coats or bandana printed sweaters. I've become somewhat conditioned to Simone Rocha's use of sheer which remains spectacular and inventive time and time again but I was pleasantly surprised with how Coach used it in their Fall collection. With a greater emphasise on warm practical coats on the top half, the bottom half was relatively free to be dressed up in a number of different ways, whether that be with a pair of plain leather pants or pleated skirts.
With last season's coats seen on the likes of fashion royalty such as Susie Bubble there is no doubt in my mind that celebrities and bloggers alike will look to this season's Coach for all their street style needs. Although having said that there are still plenty of shows to see in fashion week and the UK brand Shrimps may give Coach a run for their money in terms of popularity. Either way I can't wait to see how bloggers choose to style these pieces and combat the cold! What I look for in a runway collection is a sense of cohesion as well as story-telling and they have done just that. There was also particular attention to the details whether it be the silver charms hanging from chain belts or accessories pinned to a leather jacket. Certain elements within this collection will easily translate down the hierarchy of consumerism and within a matter of months I expect to see the market flooded with knock-offs of various quality and price ranges. For the thrifty and creative types they will also be able to fashion their own DIY pieces using whatever they have available to them.
First photo via, all other photos from Trend Council