Bonnie Cashin, the godmother of the Coach brand, advocated for both comfort and pragmatism. She also cut some of the best outerwear American fashion has ever seen. Cashin casts a long shadow over much of current chief creative officer Stuart Vevers’s work at Coach, but this season he put his homage to the sportswear designer at the fore. His runway show opened with a group of models in A-line silk and cotton anoraks printed with houndstooth and plaid patterns. Each was paired with a coordinating skirt and cap and just a bralette underneath. “It’s a collaboration between Stuart and Bonnie through the lens of the future,” Vevers said at a preview. Sure, it was a little twee, but sweet sincerity is shaping up to be the mood in New York this season; even the bitterest among us can’t help feeling happy to be back at it.
The oversized structure of Cashin’s shapes soon gave way to skate brand signatures: big, boxy tees; calf-length boardshorts, and low-rise jeans worn with exposed boxers and no shirts. There’s an unlikely commonality here—Cashin never got too close or cut too precious a shape around the body. These were mixed with a hodgepodge of blouson leather trousers, curve-swallowing tees printed with logos of classic NY haunts, bead necklaces, hotdog earrings, kisslock anoraks, and the occasional pump. “It’s something of a new language,” the designer admitted. The audience picked up on it; in a long aftershow car ride, my backseat mates discussed how, even if a little awkward at times, the Coach mix was reflective of a new mood in fashion that’s less fussy, more fun.
The show closed with about a dozen skateboarders launching onto Pier 76, followed by a drum corps, and the models walking about in every direction. It looked like Grand Central Station at rush hour, a chaotic mass of incredibly well-dressed bodies. The scene was broadcast on a giant TV screen that had previously played a new episode of Coach TV, this one hosted by Rickey Thompson and public access-themed. The contrast of the sheen of the TV segments against the grit and texture of the live show made it all the more clear how lucky we are to be seeing fashion in the round, together again.
This article was originally published on Vogue.com.