Coach's Homage to Keith Haring
Stuart Vevers is an Englishman in New York; and probably, at least in fashion, the most popular limey here. One could understand why from his latest collection for Coach – an ode to the city, and why so many people – especially Britons – fall in love with this great metropolis.
One had to applaud the set – a massive catwalk on which was built a marvellous recreation of the roof tops of the Lower East Side, complete with fire escapes, street lights and a Cadillac but all painted in silver anthracite. Projected on one gable wall, a video of Keith Haring spray-painting his guerrilla art onto a broken down door on the Bowery. The great street artist’s noted images – from Radiant Baby to various naughty monsters – embroidered onto suede jerkins, satin baseball jackets and varsity sweaters.
“I loved Keith Haring. Growing up in England, up north in Doncaster, I remember that work and I didn’t even know it was art as a kid. So I wanted this whole homage to his work, and also his values,” explained Vevers, referring to Haring’s bold fight for sexual liberation; his championship of desire and his brave fight to help those suffering from AIDS, from which he died in 1990.
Though the spark of inspiration for this spring 2018 collection for Vevers was watching Hari Nef – the transgender model and actress – at a party.
“Hari was wearing one of our nostalgic long prairie dresses, but as the party got going she whipped it off. And was left just wearing a slip dress underneath. And that stuck in my head, and I thought that is how the Coach girl is going to dress!” smiled Vevers.
The result was a charming array of clothes. Another example how Vevers has put this brand right back on the map – both artistically and commercially. There was a great sense of New York optimism about the faded gold and silver negligees or semi sheer cowgirl dresses. Also outstanding, on guys, were the waxy leather jean jackets or firefighters jackets with sequined Haring motifs. Indeed, the whole cast shimmered as they marched around the huge set inside Basketball City, perched on the banks of East River.
Ironically, Vevers actually lives in a townhouse in the far plusher West Village, and not in the Lower East Side, which is where the likes of Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Madonna made their home back in the early 1980s.
“It’s curious. The Lower East Side is a bit of New York that still looks like New York,” he laughed, as editors and stars circled to embrace him. This much admired Englishman in New York.
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