A recently unveiled collaboration brings the iconic aesthetic of Coach and the fashion forward energy of Rodarte together in a luxe, limited-edition collection.
Coach is a brand long associated with fine leather goods and classic style. Rodarte is known for high-fashion edge with feminine flair. When Stuart Vevers, Executive Creative Director at Coach, met with Laura and Kate Mulleavy, co-founders and designers at Rodarte, organic chemistry took over. The recently released collaboration is truly a melding of the hearts, minds, and creative energies of this talented trio who share their partnership in a lively discussion.
What inspired this collaboration? Stuart Vevers: I wanted to collaborate with an American designer to expand my point of view. I’ve been a long time admirer of Kate and Laura’s work and think they have a very unique approach to fashion that embodies the American creative spirit. Laura Mulleavy: We got to know Stuart because we were sharing the same show day during New York Fashion Week and found that we had a lot in common and that friendship resulted in a desire to work together.
Why do you think Coach and Rodarte work so well together? Kate Mulleavy: We both have an intrinsic belief in craftsmanship and value the ideas of heritage and brand vision. SV: We are influenced by American style and have a mutual passion for craft. I think in our own way we're both challenging European high fashion. We also love a pop cultural reference and the irreverence of bringing that to a fashion collection, whether its Rodarte with horror references or love of the movie Jaws that made me knit a shark into a sweater.
What do you admire about one another’s brands? LM: We love how Coach has created its brand within the United States and believes in American luxury and craftsmanship. We also love their incredible archive and the imaging of the brand over the years. SV: I think that Kate and Laura are redefining femininity for the next generation. Their sense of newness in craft is second to none in American high fashion. They are the one house in this country that could be compared to the couture houses of Europe.
Share some fun insights into the collaboration process. SV: Kate and Laura took me around LA (they're really good tour guides) and we ended every meeting putting the world to rights over cappuccinos. LM: We laugh when we are given a time limit for a meeting because when we see Stuart we immediately need to spend 2 hours catching up on things. That makes our meetings quite long... and fun!
What do you consider to be signature aspects of your brands? KM: We feel that texture and color are key elements for Rodarte. We love embellishments and details that are thoughtful. We love contrast and combining ideas that often do not go together. SV: Coach has an un-precious, modern approach to leather craft. The idea of pieces with individuality and personalization.
How did you envision your collaboration and how does that compare to the end result? SV: I was looking forward to exploring how Rodarte's couture techniques would fit into the Coach world. In the end, I'm excited by how irreverent our approach was. KM: We had no idea what it would be like, except we knew we would have fun because we enjoy spending time with Stuart! Each idea carried forward so easily that it felt more like a conversation over dinner rather than work.
What piece do you think best showcases your partnership? SV: The multicolored metallic leather sequin pieces because they combine Coach leather with Rodarte's sense of colors and craft techniques. LM: The metallic leather sequin floral bags. These developed out of a conversation we had with Stuart and the pieces ended up feeling so special and unique. They were the first idea we had, so they are very representative of the collaboration.
Has anything from this collaboration changed the way you look at your own brand? SV: I´m now open to introducing a more elegant approach to the way I've been dressing the Coach girl over the past three years. Rodarte inspired me to think about how I can do this in a truly American crafted way. LM: Of course! We are always learning and love seeing how other teams work.
Available at Coach, 3259 M St. NW, 202-333-3005 and on coach.com