December 5, 2022

Coach’s S23 Collection is Genderfluid, Punk, and Daring

Coach’s S23 Collection is Genderfluid, Punk, and Daring
Lil Nas X spearheaded Coach’s ode to 90’s grunge in their S23 collection.

With Gen Z becoming powerful contenders in directing brands toward inclusion, gender diversity has taken centre stage for even the most recognisable brands. This past New York Fashion Week saw Coach launch head-first into the genderfluid ballpark and, with creative director Stuart Vever at the helm, they struck a home run with their 2023 Spring Ready-To-Wear Collection.

No more clearly has the fashion world moved with the genderfluid and genderqueer times than with Lil Nas X spearheading this shift for Coach. Sporting long hair, eyeliner, and a leather ensemble paired with pink jelly sandals and a glittery gold handbag, the newest brand ambassador closed the genderless Coach collection in a powerful ode to being fearless and fabulous. His accompanying ‘Coach X Lil Nas X Courage to Be Real’ campaign helped demonstrate both to other men and to a younger Gen Z crowd at large what fashion is all about: daring to be bold, brave, and unique!

In a fabulous oscillation of masculinity and femininity, the women dressed in men’s clothes and men dressed in women’s, starting with the accessories. All the bags, from the preppy satchels to the snappy purses, were worn by all the models, as they strutted in the ever-versatile jelly sandals and patent Mary Janes. The outerwear motifs were a selection of leather goods, as Vevers presented a neutral collection of monochromatic leather dresses, trench coats, and vest and pant ensembles worn indiscriminately – serving Bowie with a hint of Jim Morrison.

Coach Nil Nas X

For the collection, Vevers strayed from his long-held aesthetic of Americana and its associated preppy, traditional ideals in favour of emboldening the show in edgier overtones. The audience was transported into the 1990’s as indie alternative, grunge, and punk motifs dominated the collection. Notably drawing inspiration from iconic rock couple Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, the collection presented the couple’s respective gender-nonconforming ideals through its adoption of grunge and kinderwhore aesthetics.

Maybe more than any other season, this season feels like it's pulling from so many past, present, future. It's very fluid, and that's very much inspired by the next generation. That's how they're thinking about gender. There isn't a men's bag or women's bag in the show.

In a reversal of traditional gender roles, the distressed knitwear was paired with long hair, while the babydoll dresses and Mary Janes were rocked by buzz-headed baddies. The typically preppy cheerleading uniforms were rendered unisex, paired with purses and earrings. Heavy eyeliner was worn by all who strutted down the stage, and in a nod to DIY, so too were red string necklaces featuring crosses, dice, and dolls.

In short, Coach’s collection became not only a homage to genderless Gen Z, but a declaration and celebration of diversity. In giving a voice to gender-nonconforming people, the collection can inspire the fashion world to push the envelope even further, even wider, and even weirder.

In being backed by Lil Nas X, the choice has a powerful ripple effect felt both by the audience and other brands alike. The collection demonstrates that being fabulous has no gender and neither do clothes, showing that for even those at the top of the industry, normative associations of gender can and ought to be played with.

As we near the end of 2022, it’s becoming apparent that more and more brands are expanding their conceptions of gender, which is something we can expect to see more of in the future. With Coach being among the latest to pioneer this notion, along with other brands such as Gucci, Versace, and Miu Miu, we’re seeing greater acceptance of diversity and expression on the runway – and what could be more punk than that?

Shop your favourite Coach pieces here.

If you liked this piece, you might like our piece on Dior’s Spring/Summer 23 Maria Grazia Chiuri, which channelled Catherine de Medici in their gothic ’23 RTW collection.

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Coach’s S23 Collection is Genderfluid, Punk, and Daring