Now the burgundy leather trench coats, whimsical martini-glass knits and rebel T-shirts featuring the work of artist Richard Bernstein (who created magazine covers for Interview), which featured in the energetic spring/summer 2020 collection, are immediately recognisable as Coach.
“Coach is first and foremost an American house, but it is also a New York house,” Vevers says. “That’s where the attitude comes from.”
With a passion for America bordering on patriotism, Vevers’ incredibly enthusiastic appreciation for the stars, stripes and everything in between is that of an outsider, having grown up in the north of England.
It’s a childhood love of movies such as My Own Private Idaho, Manhattan and Pretty in Pink, the rude boy rumblings of The Beastie Boys and Janet Jackson’s R&B reign that started his eclectic American dreaming.
“I learnt about American style through film and music,” he says. “I always have music on, at home or in the studio. It loosens me up. There’s nothing better than sketching with the music up loud. It keeps things moving and keeps things up.”
Like backing vocalists behind a lead singer, collaborations – such as the one with Bernstein – add volume to Vevers’ cool call-to-arms at Coach. It was something he picked up in Jacobs’ orbit at Louis Vuitton.
“He [Jacobs] really taught me the power of those collaborations and it has become a part of the way I work,” he says. “For me, it has to be driven by something personal. As a designer, I am very intrigued by how another person’s style and creativity can be disruptive with my own sense of style and the brand. That tension fascinates me.
“Richard Bernstein is someone I’ve followed for years and Keith Haring was an artist I loved as a teenager, so it’s been great to be inspired by their work.”
If Vevers was forced to name a lead singer for the Coach band, he is happy to stand aside and let Blondie’s Debbie Harry take star billing. “I don’t think she has ever come off the mood board, season after season,” he says reverentially.
It’s easy to imagine Harry singing Blondie’s hit song “Atomic” in the metallic silver trousers and cropped motorcycle jacket worn by model Kaia Gerber on the High Line runway.
Along with cool kids like Harry and Haring, Vevers is upfront and honest about his enduring love for the Middle American fantasy of Disney. After our interview, the 46-year-old is preparing for a brief trip to Disney World.
“I’ve been to all of the Disney parks around the world and I can always guarantee that I will come away with something,” he says. Vevers’ critically acclaimed A Dark Fairy Tale capsule collection was inspired by a ride at the home of Cinderella and Snow White.
“I was looking around and there were kids who were genuinely terrified,” he recalls. “There’s a darker side to Disney. That darker side can be interesting too.”
Now that’s cool.
This article originally appeared in the March 2020 issue of marie claire Australia.