by Stephen Garner

American fashion brand Coach presented its pre-fall 2019 men’s and women’s collections at its first-ever runway show in China, at West Bund Art Center in Shanghai, this evening. The show, dubbed “Coach Lights Up Shanghai”, and subsequent after party coincided with the brand’s 15th anniversary in China.

Inspired by Coach’s optimistic and inclusive attitude, the event brought together two of the world’s most unique, vibrant cities – Shanghai and New York – and celebrated their energy with a neon spectacle highlighting the “bright lights, big city” attitude they share.

The collection represented a sensory experience that explores the unique attitude of New York City––and Coach’s place within it. A twilight world where rock-and-roll’s elegance is suggestive of Alice Cooper’s bold early 1970s aesthetic. Elongated tailoring and tall, patchwork shoes. Exaggerated handkerchief hems on floral dresses. Lightly draped, soft leather and suede jackets––like a second-skin. Brightly colored, cloud-like shearling “chubby” jackets and love-worn mohair sweaters­­––boldly graphic like vibrant abstract paintings. The Dreamer bag evolves with a dressed-up kisslock closure, lavish crafted patchwork over Coach’s Signature pattern.

Collaborations with contemporary creatives based in China are at the heart of the collection as they reimagined Coach’s beloved dinosaur, Rexy. Sui Jianguo’s T-Rex sculpture is photographed to create a distorted photo print. Music collective YETI OUT incorporated Rexy into their signature graphic round face. Zhu Jingyi playfully recontextualized the brand’s mascot in an authentic ink drawing and graphic artist Guang Yu reinterpreted Rexy in a fierce hand-drawn graffiti print.

The show was immediately followed by a lively after party, that included DJ sets from brand ambassador Timmy Xu, collaborator Thomas Bray of Yeti Out, and DJ Dazzy, and activations that included breakdance performances, live wheatpasting and graffiti art, among others.

Photos by Mitchell Sams