In April, Reed Krakoff made the surprising announcement that he would be stepping down from his creative director position at Coach after 16 years with the iconic American brand. Now, just two months later, Coach has named his replacement.
It's Stuart Vevers, who was most recently the creative director of Madrid-based luxury label Loewe. Vevers will report to current president and chief commercial officer Victor Luis, who will succeed Lew Frankfort as CEO when Frankfort retires.
It's a slightly out-of-left-field appointment; in WWD's long list of possible candidates for the job, which included everyone from Marc Jacobs to Emma Hill, there was no mention of Vevers. However, the designer's extensive experience, particularly with accessories, no doubt made him a front-runner for the job. In addition to heading up accessories-focused Loewe, Vevers was previously the creative director of Mulberry, where he was credited with making the British heritage brand's handbags into the "it" accessories they are today; and before that, he did stints at Calvin Klein, Bottega Veneta, Givenchy and Louis Vuitton. He's also collaborated with Luella Bartley and Giles Deacon. In 2006, he won the British Council’s Accessory Designer of the Year award.
Over the past couple of years, Coach has gone through something between a revamp and an identity crisis. In terms of accessories, they've shifted to a more classic, versatile (and better, in our opinion) aesthetic; and now there are even rumors that a full ready-to-wear collection is in the works. However, Vevers' past experience would suggest that accessories will continue to be the focus of Coach's business.
“The appointment of Stuart Vevers marks an important milestone in our brand transformation, currently underway,” Frankfort told WWD. “We are extremely pleased that he will be leading our strong creative team already in place, bringing his unique aesthetic and personal style to Coach. His depth and breadth of experience will be an invaluable asset to the business in general--and the design team in particular--as we continue to evolve the brand.”
“Coach is an exceptional brand and company that I’ve long admired for its rich heritage,” Vevers told the trade. “I am excited to drive Coach’s next stage of transformation.”
While Vevers has plenty of valuable experience in the accessories department, as well as experience working for large companies, he hasn't proven himself as much in the apparel arena--perhaps he'll bring someone else on? Vevers is also a close collaborator of Katie Grand's--it will be interesting to see if their designer/stylist relationship continues at Coach.