Designer Bill Sofield and executive creative director Stuart Vevers reveals The American Dream Store According to Coach Brand.
It’s no easy achievement to conceive a store that will stand out along the country’s most impressive shopping street, but with the opening of Coach House on New York’s Fifth Avenue, the American brand has done just that.
The company’s first global Super Store, Coach House occupies 20,000 square feet on four floors, including chic displays for the brand’s clothing and leather goods as well as diverse custom art installations, an in-house customization workshop, monogram station, and made-to-order desk.
The store’s design is a collaboration between Coach’s executive creative director, Stuart Vevers, and designer Bill Sofield, of New York–based Studio Sofield.
“This has been a story 75 years in the making,” said Coach CEO Victor Luis at the store opening this week. “It’s a truly American story, founded on American values of inclusive, optimism, and hard work meeting an opportunity to make dreams come true.”
Such a message was especially emotional as the hordes of protesters, news crews, and police officers surrounding nearby Trump Tower were visible through the store’s windows, and Luis’s remarks drew a vibrant round of applause.
“This is our largest store in the world to date,” Luis continued. “How wonderful for it to be in our hometown.” Coach was founded in Manhattan 75 years ago, and there are visual poetry to that heritage throughout the store: A large-scale aerial photo of New York graces the expansive stairwell, a custom artwork by Brooklyn sculptor Kurt Steger in the men’s section was modeled on a boulder in Central Park, and polished-concrete floors are meant to riff on the city’s sidewalks.
The store also invokes Coach’s history and celebrates its iconic designs. Vintage handbags from the archives are displayed on shelves throughout, and in the customization shop on the second floor, they’ve been outfitted with hand-cut appliqués, adding a fresh twist to legendary silhouettes. Such inspiration is evident in more implied ways. Luxe natural materials like leather and shearling are used everywhere in the store, recalling many of Coach’s designs; in one room on the third floor, a pair of shearling-upholstered Arne Jacobsen Swan chairs echo the furry lining and trim of a line of boots on the shelves behind them.Subway tiles, pendant lights, and an open elevator system are all evocative of traditional styles at the time of Coach’s founding.
Customers enter the store under a double-height ceiling, where a winding mechanical conveyor belt rotates vintage and fashionable products through the air above, emphasising the space’s height and surrounding the eye in Coach. Upon stepping through the entry, visitors are greeted by Rexy, a 12-foot Tyrannosaurus rex sculpture crafted entirely out of Coach leather goods by artist Billie Achilleos.
There was something else to celebrate at the opening, too: to match with the House’s unveiling, the company has made a $3 million donation to Step Up, a New York–based mentorship program for young girls. Four Step Up scholars were in the audience at the opening, sporting Coach backpacks in bright hues and delighting in exploring the space and observing craftsmen at work. Here’s to the historic brand’s investment in the future.
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