Tags: CoachOther Brands
Fashion shows are nice, but nothing beats getting to see new handbags up close; touching something, opening it up and putting it on your arm are the best ways to evaluate a collection. Luckily, we got to do just that yesterday with Coach's Fall 2015 bags (and coats--just wait until you see the coats), and we think you'll be just as excited about this collection as we are.
Coach is now, of course, under the creative direction of Stuart Vevers, and this is his third full seasonal line for the brand. Vevers' work just keeps getting better; he builds on the positive response to the new-for-Spring 2015 Swagger Bag with even more versions in metallics, multicolor and a fun, slightly punky animal print the brand is calling "wild beast." The results are strong, and the multicolor Swaggers are a particular highlight; they feel neutral without being at all boring.
The collection also includes lots of shearling, which appears everywhere from candy-colored mini bags with fur pom-poms to extravagant shearling coats. As its been for years, outwear was another particular highlight--we couldn't help but include a few photos of the gorgeous coats and jackets in the gallery below.
Late last week, Women’s Wear Daily reported that Reed Krakoff would suspend operations while in pursuit of new investment to keep the line afloat. While the news itself is a surprise, it’s not shocking that something was up at Krakoff’s company; it’s the third young, well-known brand in the past several months to either partially or completely shut down. There’s a reason for that: shoppers just aren’t buying ready-made “lifestyle brand” marketing.
With this news, Krakoff joins the somewhat inauspicious ranks of C. Wonder and Kate Spade Saturday; C.Wonder shut down its operations completely in February, liquidating its inventory and closing all its stores. Some thought the brand might survive as a wholesale business, but owner Chris Burch chose to try his luck elsewhere. Kate Spade Saturday also closed its stores, but for now, it plans to have a home within the existing Kate Spade website and retail stores.
With both of those brands, and now with Krakoff, at least part of the problem seems clear: Fashion customers are too savvy to buy into a ready-made “lifestyle brand” story when the brand has not already demonstrated its value and proficiency in some way first. Going full speed ahead into accessories, shoes, jewelry, frangrance, ready-to-wear and handbags (and in C. Wonder’s case, home decor) is too much, all at once, and all the unpleasant seams of fashion marketing show. The customer recognizes that she is being sold something and simply doesn’t know why she should care, and brands are doing a bad job of proving their case.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, we have young success stories like Mansur Gavriel, Edie Parker and Charlotte Olympia. All three started out with a very specific, narrow line of products (minimalist leather bags in neutral colors, bright acrylic clutches and whimsical footwear, respectively), and once customers responded positively, then each brand started to extend its reach in careful, well-planned, relatively conservative ways. So far, each brand has done a strong job of retaining its first fans while building its customer base and business.
The approaches taken by each of these sets of brands are at opposite extremes of the spectrum, and at this point, the savvier of the two is clear. Fashion customers won’t just buy anything put in front of them with a slick logo and a promise of luxury, and even in the case of Reed Krakoff, where many of the products were top-notch and the designer was an indsutry vet, a slower burn likely would have yielded a healthier business, in the long term. You have to let the customers come to you.
There’s a bit of hope for Reed, though. WWD reports that there’s still product in the pipelines and although the brand is closing its Madison Avenue store in the next few weeks, it will continue to operate its Soho store, Woodbury Commons outlet and its website for as long as possible–the hope is that the brand will be able to find new investment quickly and then pivot to a more “accessible luxury” model. It’s a market that Krakoff knows well, as the longtime creative director of Coach, and one that we hope he’ll be returning to with new funding soon.
When and if Krakoff resurrects itself as a brand, though, we hope it will be with a more measured approach. Customers have always been excited about his bags, if our comments section is any indication–we hope he will start there.
Tags: CoachOther Brands
I've been excited for Coach's Spring 2015 handbags to arrive ever since I saw them at the brand's runway show back in September; the collection felt modern and light-hearted, like it could bridge the gap between the brand's longtime fans and the fashion-forward audience that Coach hopes to attract. The collection also includes the brand's latest artist collaboration, Coach x Baseman.
The Baseman bags, which feature adorable little monsters, are the fashion bait of the collection, meant to appeal to a consumer group that watches runway trends and wants to buy things that are weird, distinctive and limited-edition. There has already been a notable response to these bags and the rest of the Coach x Baseman line, so it seems like cute beasties are a bet that will pay off.
For a more mainstream customer, the collection also debuts a new marquee bag style for the brand, the Swagger. It's an East-West tote that currently comes in three sizes, and although it's not innovating any new territory or starting any new trends, the execution and options are solid. In particular, the mini metallics are a lot of fun.
"Fun" is probably the best word to describe everything that's going on with this collection, actually. The colors are pastel without being too sweet, and the details and embellishments elevate the bags without making the designs seem self-serious. For Stuart Vevers' second full collection with the brand, there's been a lot of growth.
Tags: CoachOther Brands
With Stuart Vevers at the helm, Coach is taking great strides in a new direction. A couple weeks ago, Coach hosted its Fall 2015 menswear presentation in London, and Vevers showcased a relaxed, effortless collection.
While Coach under Vevers offers a different direction than many have grown to expect from the brand, his collections so far have featured remixes of American originals with a personal spin. The collection of clothing is really nice; in fact, I could see Vlad wearing many of the pieces.
The main styles for the Coach Men's Fall 2015 collection include a messenger bag, a backpack and a tote bag. The bags have a laid-back aesthetic that feels authentic to both the direction Coach is currently taking, as well as the roots of the brand. The tote bag is the standout of bunch, especially the black version with whipstitching detail.
Stuart Vevers said of the line, "The collection reinforces the story that started with the womens’ collections last Fall--elevating the familiar, exploring the tension between utility and luxury with luxe craftsmanship that’s driven by functionality."
Tags: CoachOther Brands