Coach’s SS22 Collection is What Gen-Z Dreams Are Made Of
See how the label revived the early ‘90s through micro-tops, baggy pants and the coolest elevated looks of the season, plus, an exclusive interview with HBO’s Alexander Hodge.
If you’ve ever called Coach kitsch, you’ve just been proved right—but only if you were using the term as an adjective of praise.
Creative director Stuart Vevers presented his spring 2022 collection as a show within a show, digital segments heralding Bob Ross and early ‘90s programming—complete with tacky game shows—blending seamlessly into the world of high fashion with the collection on the runway. Everything is retro, everything is urban: this season, New York City is the star of the show, and it’s clothed in head-to-toe Coach.
Known for its pristine tailoring and elevated ready-to-wear pieces, Coach didn’t divert from it’s formula this season, but rather brought it to a new level entirely by reverting to the progressive attitude of Bonnie Cashin, the first head designer at Coach and pioneer of the iconic turnlock. Garments are exaggerated and playful, strikingly groovy against a hip hop beat and grainy video on the runway; patterns from check to houndstooth are no longer stiff and reserved, but instead made anew for a young generation, becoming a contemporary uniform shifting traditional shapes into new styles.
The je ne sais quoi of Gen-Z fashion is perfectly captured by Vevers, who put the formula on lock; every look combines Coach’s history with 2021’s rising fashion scene, making modern poise exciting and vibrant, a palette of pink and green.
The ‘90s are an underlying current of inspiration throughout the collection, repeated in babydoll tees and low-rise pants. Hats are the ultimate accessory, making looks from ponchos to mini dresses to trench coats cool and casual, studied relaxation nailed down to a T (as primly solidified by the chaotic finale of the show, in which every look was presented alongside a horde of young skateboarders, another reminder of the youthful joie de vivre of the collection).
Standout looks in the collection are those incredible in their dynamism, lifted by Vevers from the early nineties and transformed into an instantly appreciable look thirty years into the future. There is the orange and white plaid cape and matching hat, bringing a timeless style a new freshness; the blue and white houndstooth coat with matching beyond-the-knee shorts, a micro bra top adding contrast and silhouette; a green and yellow plaid dress, modest in its structure, playful in its execution.
V caught up with Alexander Hodge of HBO’s Insecure after the show—his character, Andrew, is a fashion icon, so it makes sense for Hodge himself to be impeccably dressed in a navy blazer from FW21 and a crossbody frame bag at Coach’s show.
“Fashion is the greatest form of self expression when it comes to first impressions,” says Hodge. “The way I dress informs people about my personality, and gives me a chance to communicate visually who I am and how I feel on any given day.”
This season’s NYFW marks Hodge’s first time attending; as far as first impressions go, Coach did not disappoint.
“Stuart’s love letter to New York City in this new season warmed my heart,” he said. “After everything this city has been through, it felt like a coming together, sitting on the pier watching skaters dart through the models in their shirts branded in NYC adulation.”
He also added: “The people at Coach are beautiful. They feel and operate like a family, and I’m happy to be here celebrating the new season with them. I really like Stuart and the direction he’s taking Coach today.”
This is not the Coach of ages past, nor is it even the vintage Coach that’s made a somewhat ironic comeback with monograms and handbags; this is an entirely new vision, a Coach for a new generation, one full of TikTok stars (as seen by the number of creators in Coach’s pre-recorded video, including Rickey Thompson and Quen Blackwell) and boys who wear pearl necklaces, one for those who wear bras as shirts and those who wear baggy denim just low enough on their hips so that their underwear band is a styled accessory.
There’s one thing that Gen-Z knows for sure: It’s hard to look this carelessly cool, but oh, how Coach makes it seem so simple.