The lettering under a 1970s advert for a coach is printed on a tote, a t-shirt and a sweater in the new Rodarte & Coach collaboration. René Magritte's surrealist painting The Treachery of Images (more commonly known as Ceci n'est pas une pipe) springs to mind, as does a strange desire to part with hundreds of pounds.
Well, what did you expect from Rodarte? One of the US's best fashion brands, any collaboration was bound to produce its signature mix of beauty and intelligence. Founded by sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy in 2005 Rodarte is consistently picked as best in show at the catwalks by Vogue.
Rodarte has previously collaborated with & Other Stories, Opening Ceremony, Target, Gap, the Rug Company – and the film industry: the Mulleavy sisters designed the ballet costumes for Black Swan.
Though Coach and Rodarte are both American, there's where the similarities end – Coach relies on heritage, Rodarte was only founded in the noughties. Recently-revived Coach is all about leather goods. Rodarte is all about couture fashion – even museum-worthy fashion, having had gowns exhibited at the Met and the LA County Museum of Art.
All the pieces in the collection have a lot going on. Bags are studded, sequined or printed with a picture of another bag on – making them heavy with decoration... or a hefty dose of conceptual art. We love the studded jackets and dresses. The sequins on the black leather are arranged in thick floral clusters. The studs and eyelets on the chalk white leather circle dress are inspired by lace, but executed with metal. This is hardware made beautiful.
The sequined leather jacket is extraordinarily covetable. It's like a mantle or a dreamcoat. Its weight on your shoulders must feel like armour.
The 'This is a Coach bag' bag is just clever enough to make it desirable, without being so clever as to turn us off. It is the 'Medium Brown Bag' of desirable pieces.
Not bad for Coach, whose current poster girl is Selena Gomez, seen this week at Coachella (coincidence... we think – the festival is named after a Californian Valley, not a bag brand).
Available to buy online from Coach and Selfridges.
|What||The Coach & Rodarte fashion collaboration is available now|
|Where||Coach Flagship Store, 200–206 Regents Street, London, W1B 5BN | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Oxford Circus (underground)|
18 Apr 17 – 30 Jun 17, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Website||Buy the collection here|