Skaters are proving an unexpected muse for fashion designers this season. First there was Monse, who held their Resort ‘22 runway show inside an actual skate park, now there’s Coach—who closed off their spring summer ‘22 presentation at Pier 76 with the sudden appearance of a bevy of skateboarders. The clothes themselves channelled the spirit of the skater boys we once swooned over as hormone-adled teenage girls, a slightly ad hoc sensibility that feels authentic to the way we’re all dressing in 2021. Slick tailoring and beige separates may look good on a runway, but after a year spent indoors it’s starting to feel like too much effort for IRL. Most of us are just trying to get by day-to-day, throwing on a hodgepodge mix of baggy jeans, familiar tees, and comfortable flat shoes.
In this sense Stuart Vevers collection spoke to a cultural moment: so-bad-it’s-good fashion for a generation that loves the word “chaotic” and tends to shop on Depop. Cue: board shorts worn as daywear, low-slung jeans with exposed boxer shorts (for the boys and the girls), patchwork waistcoats and dresses with psychedelic snail motifs. There were trompe l’oeil jackets and dresses, including camp printed Peter Pan collar and front pockets, and vintage-style T-shirts advertising cult New York City haunts like Eagle NYC, a gay leather cruise bar in West Chelsea, and Serendipity3, the Upper East Side restaurant best known for its frozen hot chocolates. They looked great with flared jeans and harem-style leather trousers.
The kitsch factor was fun, but that the collection spoke to Coach’s heritage too. Vevers referenced Bonnie Cashin—the iconic sportswear designer who launched Coach’s women’s offering in 1962—while discussing his references for the collection, calling it “a collaboration between Stuart and Bonnie”. Her influence was evident in the abundance of anorak-style jackets, available in every colourway imaginable, from bottle green to soft lilac with burgundy piping. Cashin’s influence on the way modern women dress is hard to overestimate and yet, as Fashionista pointed out in a 2020 piece, very few Americans would even recognise her name. So we have to thank Stuart Vevers on two fronts: for solidifying the value of ‘post-lockdown chic’, and for reminding the world of Bonnie Cashin’s name.