Stuart Vevers on Disney x Coach’s A Dark Fairy Tale Collection and Designing With Selena Gomez Interview

Fashion


Today Coach drops its third collaboration with Disney, and this time the theme of the limited edition online collection is…A Dark Fairytale. And to take a look into our crystal ball real quick, we’re pretty sure it will sell out faster than you can say “Angelina Jolie was great in Maleficent.” (Coach’s Minnie Mouse ear bags were gone in a snap last time.)

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Coach Minnie Mouse Kisslock Bag in Red from the collection earlier this year.

Coach

This line features poison-apple sweaters, bags adorned with creepy eyes, and any and all of the spookiest imagery from Disney’s Snow White and Sleeping Beauty plastered on totes, purses, and hoodies and sweaters. “It was a kind of dark take on a romantic feel,” Coach creative director Stuart Vevers told ELLE.com. “There’s always something quite freaky in the references of the collection, and as a big Disney fan, I started to see some parallels with some of the themes in my favorite movies.”

Ahead of the line’s release, Vevers spoke with ELLE.com about what it was like working with Disney on this line, how the tiniest details were chosen, and what’s up next for Coach. Hint: It has a lot to do with Selena Gomez….designing everything.

What inspired the dark, fairytale twist on your third Disney x Coach collection?

Stuart Vevers: It was really in the context of our pre-fall collection. We were looking at an American gothic fairytale. A lot of our references have that feeling—it was a dark take on a romantic feel. We started to look at the scary moments Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Sleeping Beauty, and it felt very natural with the collection. Then we kind of turned it into its own capsule.

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Could you take me through the design process? What was it like taking this idea, making the initial design, getting Disney to approve it, and ultimately having your final products ready to go?

Because this is our third collection we’ve done with Disney, they know us well, and we’ve also got to know how they work. It was really important to me that I give something that felt fashion. Even when we did Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse earlier this year with Disney, I always wanted it to have something that felt very different, very unique.

When I first approached Disney [with the idea for A Dark Fairy Tale], I wasn’t sure they would want to play up the dark side of these movies—but they were really into the idea. The also felt it was fresh and new, and they know we’re going to approach it in a respectful and elevated way.

Courtesy of Coach

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From a timing point, how long did the design take?

From starting a collection to presenting it, probably about six months. It was probably about four months from the initial idea to presenting the collection, then of course it’s another six months or so until it arrives in the store. Usually from an idea to a collection being in store, it’s about a year.

Courtesy of Coach

So with the tops and the purses, you’re pulling specific images from these films. How did you chose the images?

It was very lo-fi. It was myself and the team watching the movie over and over again, and kind of mapping the TV screen of the things that we really liked. We started off with a much bigger selection of images, but some things really grabbed us. The eyes, in particular felt really immediate. Then we would start talking to Disney about what they were comfortable with and getting original artwork. It was important to Disney that we didn’t mix the movies. Each individual piece from the collection only has images from one movie.

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Courtesy of Coach

Of all the Disney films with darker themes, how did you choose Snow White and Sleeping Beauty?

We played a lot with the poison apple, along with the eyes. I liked that when you see them, you quite immediately go to the reference, especially if you’re a fan or you’ve watched those films multiple times like most people have. Those images take you right to those moments in the movies, and they’re quite iconic.

Courtesy of Coach

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There seems to be a street edge on some of the collection’s items. How did you guys get that idea?

We wanted to make sure that it felt new. Even with our collaboration in January of this year, when we did Minnie Mouse, a lot of our references came from surf culture. That exploration and research of counterculture and youth culture has been a part of my aesthetic at Coach, so it was really important that [A Dark Fairy Tale] had that reference to youth culture, the way that we used the graphics but also the pieces that we used the artwork on. There’s a lot of sweatshirts, t-shirts, and backpacks—it was about feeling youthful.

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What kind of girl or guy were you thinking of when you were making these pieces and designing them?

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It’s definitely first and foremost the Coach girl who is always inspired by these very iconic American references. But the pieces themselves, they’re put together in a way that feels very personal, often with quite a customized feeling. I think the attitude of the Coach girl is always a sense of ease; there’s something grounded and real about her. So the fact that a lot of the pieces are everyday, American sportswear, it means that something quite playful with these graphics can also have a ease about it.

Courtesy of Coach

Are there any special details about the crafting of these pieces that you can share?

We spent a lot of time on our printing techniques and adding little touches of glitter paint. It’s probably not typical to print so much on leather, but we wanted to find ways that make our iconic Coach goatskin leather still feel very rich—there’s a lot of furnishing techniques and embossing and debossing so it still really feels like a proper leather bag. Also with these playful graphics we used authentic colors f0r the stitching, to give it that sense of richness and place of the heritage of Coach. That way something playful still has a luxe feeling.

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Courtesy of Coach

You’ve done three collaborations with Disney now. If you could do another one with them, what would your dream theme for it be?

I don’t think too far ahead. I always like to come up with inspiration in the moment. I’m a big Disney fan—I love the films, I love the iconic characters, I also love the parks like the one here in Italy. So when I’m researching a collection and coming up with ideas, some things from that world—just because I love it—can pop into my head. I don’t have any wishlist; it’s more how it could feel authentic to a particular collection. I hope that I can continue this relationship with Disney because I think it’s bringing people a lot of fun, a lot of enjoyment, it’s really special to be able to work with something that I genuinely have a lot of love for.

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So I have to ask: is there anything coming from Coach this year that you could tease now that people could look forward to in addition to this collection?

Yeah! I think it’s already out there but in September, we have our collection, which I designed with Selena [Gomez], and I’m super excited for people to see. Last year, we worked together on bags but this year, we’ve created a full collection, including ready-to-wear, accessories as well as bags so I’m super excited for people to see that.

Was this her first time designing clothes with you too?

Yes, it is, so that felt really special: Being able to get her to think about a head-to-toe look. And the way she approached was very personal. It was really the things that she wanted to wear and the way that she wanted to dress.

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What has it been like watching her kind of grow as a designer ? You guys worked together last year, you guys work together now…

It’s really fun because obviously, Selena is super creative in music and film—but working together is very instinctive because we come together as two creatives. She’s very, very used to a creative process so it was very easy, very authentic.

She was a Disney Channel star. Would you ever work with her on a Disney collection?

We’ve not talked about it at this point, no.

Last fun but hard question: What’s your favorite Disney film?

Oh wow, it is hard. I could probably safely say Snow White, in terms of the classic animated films. There’s something really magical about the color. But it could kind of change depending on where you are in life or your mood. That’s what’s so magical about Disney.

Shop the line now at Coach.



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