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Carolyn Garcia
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Surf, psych, and punk – how counterculture inspired Coach

From 90s New York hip hop to The Beach Boys, we explore creative director Stuart Vevers’ references

For AW15, Coach’s womenswear show was drenched in patriotism – American flag graphics made their way on to biker jackers, as Stuart Vevers cited his travels in America as his main source of inspiration. Born and raised in England, Vevers seems set on continuing his love affair with the US. “I liked things that really celebrated’s about the American dream mixed with the irreverence of New York,” he said backstage after his menswear offering in London yesterday, which saw him invite a gang of the best US models to join the party. Blending a heady mixture of beloved childhood favourites and emblems from the states, we unpick the designers top references for SS16 below.


Take it back to the mid 60s and early 70s and that’s where you’ll find the artistry behind Vever’s optically arresting prints. The imagery found on retro gig posters for the likes of The Doors, Bob Dylan and The Jimi Hendrix Experience have been reimagined and repurposed for Coach’s boys, who wore waves of psychedelic patterns on button-up shirts and collared jackets. The soundtrack also delved into modern psychedelia, featuring Tame Impala's "Half Full Glass of Wine."   


“I wanted a slightly psychedelic surf feeling but with a lot of pace and a lot of energy,” Vevers explained post-show. An air of West Coast rebellion seemed to wash over the collection, which distinctly referenced early American counter culture and “lots of The Beach Boys.” “Surf Punk” was the term that came to mind, as models waltzed down the runway in sunglasses, deck shorts and slip on sandals.


“We really thought about the music that we played when the audience were coming in – it was Malcolm McLaren.” Vevers revealed, opting for a man whose attitude was as strong as his style. Vevers also noted Generation X frontman Billy Idol as an inspiration, and a punk sensibility could definitely be sensed throughout the collection – with leather collars, dark animal prints featuring on coats and jumpers, and overt zip detailing on jackets. 


The Beastie Boys helped to form the idea of America that Vevers had as a kid growing up in England. The creative director seemed fixated on hip-hop’s golden age – New York in the late 80s and early 90s. Not only was the attitude of that period noticeable in Vevers’ collection, but also the hues – the designer used a lot of red, green and yellow which was the palette of the clothing brand of the era, Cross Colours.


America’s most loved presidential family made their way in to Coach’s menswear show too. The Kennedy boys remain the epitome of Stateside masculinity and were cited by Vevers as main influencers – a fitting reference for a brand whose roots are so firmly planted in US heritage. The famous brothers' style could be seen in the longline overcoats, casual trousers suits and fitted blazers, but it was also about the countercultural attitude of newfound freedoms that Kennedy’s era signified.