Business of fashion

Retail report: Come on over to Coach House, London



Coach House London flagship store

If you’ve strolled through Oxford Circus Station lately, you’ll know there’s a new Coach store in town. The giant billboard and video ads along the tunnel walkways and up the escalator are a good giveaway. If not, the neon dinosaurs lighting up its Regent Street windows may well lure you in.

The new ‘Coach House’ is a grand statement from the U.S brand so it’s fitting that it’s planted itself along a significant stretch of Regent Street. This destination is currently host to a gleaming swathe of UK flagships for major American brands including Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren, Apple, Michael Kors, J. Crew and Levi’s. Tory Burch is soon to join.

Coach is interesting as it’s a bit of a success story at the moment. Hence its pride in tooting its horn, not just here, but in its New York Coach House, a 20,000 sq. ft. version just opened on 5th Avenue. Among the standout features that Coach would like you to note are the punches of colour. Leather is a house code (glove tanned leather to be precise), but Stuart Vevers has brought in this saturated palette of brights that spills over everything from bags to baseball mitts to leather postcards. Significant updates also include some classic Bonnie Cashin bags (Bonnie Cashin created some of Coach’s iconic designs in the 70s) reimagined in bold new colourways.
Coach House Regent Street Rexy window
Coach House Regent Street
Coach House Regent Street accessories
Coach House Regent Street accessories
Coach House Regent Street leather postcards
Coach House Regent Street rexy accessories
Coach House Regent Street accessories
Coach House Regent Street accessories

Then there is the personalisation. This is a key movement in luxury and mass fashion right now so it makes sense for Coach to embrace it. There are two tiers, the build-your-own bespoke Rogue bag service (choose the leather, straps etc – there are a million permutations), and the while-u-wait tag ‘craftsmanship bar’.

In terms of retail theatre, I challenge you to witness others partaking and not want a go yourself. You can’t! So may as well join the fray choosing a leather bag tag and having it monogrammed with initials and the emoji motif of your choice. (There are over 100.) I picked a red tag with blue initials and a gold horseshoe. I live in a converted stable so horseshoes are a favourite emblem.

This has got to be the prettiest customisation station I’ve seen, with colourful jars, inspiration books and Instagrammable crafty details throughout. That’s not all. There are also vintage Coach bags that have been customised with studs, patches and the like. And in time, this is also where you’ll bring your bag for refurbs and repairs.
Coach House Regent Street craftmanship bar
Coach House Regent Street craftmanship bar
Coach House Regent Street craftmanship bar
Coach House Regent Street craftmanship bar
Coach House Regent Street craftmanship bar
Coach House Regent Street monogramming craftsmanship bar
Coach House Regent Street monogramming craftsmanship bar - choose your colours
Coach House Regent Street monogramming craftsmanship bar
Coach House Regent Street bespoke Rogue bags
Coach House Regent Street bespoke Rogue bags
Coach House Regent Street bespoke Rogue bags
Coach House Regent Street bespoke Rogue bags

Vever’s Coach is a clever celebration of modern Americana. Less preppie than Tommy or Ralph, in his RTW Coach 1941 line we get the cool girls’ uniform of punked up varsity jackets, shearling boots and boyfriend knits. “Stuart is obsessed with girl gangs”, the PR tells me, which I think means a propensity for biker jackets and a certain tough girl attitude than out-and-out violence. The boyishness is tempered with a sweet, slightly 70s charm. If you’re quick you may be able to nab one of the special varsity jackets pictured. They have been selling out everywhere but a few were held back for the UK launch.
Coach House Regent Stree
Coach House Regent Stree
Coach House Regent Street blouses
Coach House Regent Stree
Coach House Regent Street
Coach House Regent Street

With all its fizz and pop, there’s something a little old fashioned in this affordable luxe Gen-Y iteration of Coach House. It’s not just the vintage furnishings and George Nelson for Herman Miller clock, but the old school calm and charm. In the window is a neon ‘Rexy’ dinosaur, Vevers’ new Coach mascot that also appears on sweaters, patches and a giant multicoloured sculpture inside the entrance.

It’s fun but innocent and downstairs the playfulness continues with a photo booth that has been installed for the opening. Elsewhere there are video screens on auto play but that’s about the extent of the digital tech. Magic mirrors, beacon technology, click and collect, there are none. In a way that’s quite nice, it’s almost more immersive not to have those distractions. For now, the emoji-like charms decorating the bag tags will have to do. All eyes on the product.
Coach bags
Coach House Regent Street
Coach House Regent Street vintage George Nelson clock
34 Coach House Regent Street
34 Coach House Regent Street
Coach House Regent Street rexy accessory
Coach House Regent Street varsity jackets
Coach House Regent Street Rexy sculpture


Coach is at 206, Regent Street, W1

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WORDS AND IMAGES: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
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THE DRG STYLE INDEX: CALVIN KLEIN, H&M, COMMUNITY CLOTHING, ZOEVA, FREDERIC MALLE



Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar…

1. FIRST LOOK AT RAF SIMONS FOR CALVIN KLEIN
raf simons for calvin klein creates drama with a dan flavin in store installation
Here’s a first look at what RS for CK will look like. It’s a Dan Flavin installation at the Calvin Klein store in Manhattan, which suggests that Raf is going to go full throttle on the art-ification of fashion. Well of course he is. It’s an area ripe for exploration and if anyone can do it with integrity it’s him. In other news, he’ll be showing the Calvin Klein AW17 menswear and womenswear together at NYFW in February. And he’ll show his own Raf Simons menswear collection there as well.


2. WATCH WES ANDERSON’S H&M AD

H&M is winning the Christmas ad campaign wars for me. The Wes Anderson directed short has all the Wes hallmarks, the trainscape, the window panorama, the pistachio green colour scheme and the regimented choreography. Ok the ending is a bit awkward but that’s Wes for ya. In other news, I just saw this Wes Anderson Amex ad from 2009, he’s a cute actor too…


3. COMMUNITY CLOTHING GETS SUSTAINABLE FASHION RIGHT

Community Clothing
Bravo Patrick Grant for creating Community Clothing, a unisex, conscious clothing company with fashion credentials and a decent price point. All made in Britain. Yep, it can be done. Their Instagram is pretty cool too. Read more here


4. ZOEVA AT CULT BEAUTY

Zoeva makeup brushes
Good news for Zoeva enthusiasts. You can now buy Zoeva makeup brushes at Cult Beauty. Click here and below for my most-used favourites…


5. FREDERIC MALLE PICKS

Valextra Frederic Malle pochette
The Selfridges candle and perfume hall has had a boost now that it opens onto the new accessories hall. I passed through last week and spent a good half hour dousing myself in Frederic Malle scents and unguents. The Une Rose body butter is the best body butter I have ever felt, smelt and seen. The Lipstick Rose EDP is a sweet and heady potion that dries down to a softer powdery violet, and I love the leather perfume pochettes made in collaboration with Valextra (£240).

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
IMAGE: Calvin Klein, Community Clothing, Disneyrollergirl x 2
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here

CLICK HERE to get Disneyrollergirl blog posts straight to your inbox once a week
CLICK HERE to buy my book The New Garconne: How to be a Modern Gentlewoman

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Postive fashion: Unmade customised knitwear



Unmade customised knitwear
The dreaded Christmas jumper season is incoming and if there’s one thing I loathe, it’s novelty sweaters. If you want a standout sweater, why not design one yourself? It’s easier, and more affordable than you might think.

Just before London Fashion Week, I got the chance to explore the studios of Unmade, a pioneering London company doing radical things with knitwear. (more…)



What can save Marks & Spencer?



Marks & Spencer store closures

In the UK there’s a huge furore around the news that Marks & Spencer is shuttering stores and streamlining its clothing offer. M&S is a national treasure to the Brits, so we naturally panic at such news, but I’m being optimistic. (more…)