NYFW: Michael B. Jordan Turns Out for Coach 1941's Ode to '80s Manhattan

NEW - Coach - Main 1 - 2019
Bennett Raglin/Getty Images; JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images

Images of designer Stuart Vevers’ adolescent idols from the era (Rob Lowe, Michael J. Fox and Barbra Streisand) figured in on a series of T-shirts and tanks.

Coach ad frontman Michael B. Jordan showed up at the brand's Coach 1941 fashion show on Tuesday afternoon, staged high above the streets on Manhattan's High Line, with a group of high-school students students and young TV stars as his guests. 

"This is my first fashion show," Riverdale’s Casey Cott said excitedly. "I thought it was all incredible, especially all the greens like the green leather jacket. Green’s my favorite color." Nearby, Euphoria’s Barbie Ferreira and teen star Rowan Blanchard took in the sights. "I liked the denim outfit, you know, the one with the kitten heels," said Blanchard. 

Green was just one of the colored leathers on view for designer Stuart Vevers' male and female clients, as he set his sights on 1980s New York as the show theme, perhaps as imagined from his own London teen years. He opened the show with a cool full-length red leather trench, and there was also a bright blue leather bomber and skirt combo, both worn with fluttering silk-print scarf-ties.

Vevers’ adolescent idols from the era figured in as a series of T-shirts and tanks that sported images of Brat Pack icon Rob Lowe and Michael J. Fox, as well as Barbra Streisand. Rendered by the late Richard Bernstein, who painted all of Andy Warhol's Interview cover subjects in its Me Decade heyday, they called to mind the energy of New York back when magazine-blaring newsstands were a common sight. Also very Warhol was the jolt of silver leather pants and surplus-style military caps that Edie and Billy Name probably wore while hanging out at The Factory.

The sneakers had a dirtier downtown Manhattan vibe, too, a move away from the chunkier athletic styles of last season. Instead, the kicks were simple flat-soled canvas high-tops, with three banded snap closures marching up the front. While the guys all stuck to the tennies, the girls also donned flat Mary Jane sandals or the aforementioned kitten heels with pointy toes and cute contrasting ankle straps. 

Separating the show from Vevers’ outings to the Old West or the fantasyland of Disney and unicorns in previous efforts were the callbacks to what might be termed "Old Coach." Many of the brown, black and burgundy leather jackets and skirts for women had the classic turn-latch metal closures pioneered by original designer Bonnie Cashin; show notes revealed that the 78 bags shown were each based on an archive design representing the company’s 78 years, sometimes in the original leather colors and others "remastered" in New Wave hues.

That dovetailed nicely with the Coach Originals pop-up store on Madison Avenue, that opened ahead of Fashion Week (for an early launch of the handbags), and runs through this weekend. Quincy Brown DJ'ed sets at the opening party last Friday, which was attended by Rainey Qualley, Foursome’s Rickey Thompson and Euphoria's Ferreira. Besides the Originals collection, the temporary store is selling some of the real originals — refurbished vintage Coach styles. It also offers reconditioned bags to rent for a night or two as well as customization with whimsical painted motifs and flowers and an on-site bag cleaning and restoration service.

With fashion’s newfound emphasis on sustainability, both the revival of the classic styles and Coach’s new fashion direction that has a "forever" appeal — instead of focusing on ephemeral seasonal trends — seems like not only an eco-conscious way for the company to go but also a promising commercial one for the future.