From humble beginnings as a family-run workshop with just six artisans to their meteoric rise as a leading global lifestyle brand, Coach’s 75 year story is rich with unique heritage. Sharon Carvalho delves into the milestones of the brand to find out how the Horse and Carriage became iconic symbols of traditional craftsmanship and innovative design
•1950s- Finding inspiration in the well-worn feel of a baseball glove, Miles Cahn, known as the founder of Coach, was the first to create the glove tanned cow hide leather, a unique symbol that became synonymous with the brand.
•1961- Became the first leather brand to hire a female creative director, the visionary sportswear designer, Bonnie Cashin, who led the house into the world of women’s fashion.
•1962- Bonnie introduced the first leather tote and was followed by other iconic bags such as the Bucket Bag, the Dinky, the Saddle, the Slim Satchel and the Duffle.
Signature Features- Over the first few decades, the horse and carriage logo (50s), the turnlock (mid 60s) and the hangtag (early 70s) became Coach codes and signature design elements that make every product to this day recognizable.
•1981- Opened its first retail store on Madison Avenue in New York City.
•1990s- Under President and Chief Executive Officer Lew Frankfort and Creative Director Reed Krakoff, the brand began the transformation from a company known for quality leather handbags into a rich lifestyle brand. New product categories were introduced such as outerwear, fragrance, jewellery, watches and footwear and were now accessible all over the world with flagship stores opening in China, Korea,Taiwan, and Japan throughout the next decade. The famous Signature C, inspired by materials from our archives, was introduced by Krakoff and became one of the most recognizable designer logos.
•2010- The first freestanding men’s store opened on Bleecker Street in New York City offering a new proposition for a global men’s lifestyle business.
•2011- The first European flagship opened on Bond Street in London.
•2013- Stuart Vevers became Coach’s new Executive Creative Director,bringing an expertise in leather and a renewed fashion credibility to the brand. Vevers debuted Coach 1941, a newly expanded collection of ready to wear and luxury bags that premiered on the High Line at Coach’s first ever New Yorkrunway show. Vever’s lifestyle ollections for men and women had a downtown attitude that celebrated Coach’s heritage while modernizing it.
Today- Chief Executive Officer Victor Luis and Stuart Vevers are remaining true to the brand’s heritage while proposing a new vision of ‘Modern Luxury’, which elevates the products and the experience in a way that is grounded and true to who Coach is as a brand.