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Modern luxury, how we define it for ourselves, is about quality and great design, while at the same time offering the customer an emotional experience through great brands, its history and narratives. Modern for us is different from the traditional European groups … it’s about being inclusive, not exclusive based on price. It is not based on a country of origin, [nor] is it made in any specific market as traditional luxury brands are …

 

– Victor Luis, Coach, Inc. CEO

Last week it was announced that American handbag brand Coach, Inc. bought Kate Spade & Co.  for $2.4 billion.

The once classic handbag line, originally designed by Bonnie Cashin, seems to be shifting into a fashion conglomerate having also purchased shoe brand Stuart Weitzman for $524 million in 2015.

(More fashion news – Mr. Weitzman, who orchestrated the sale of his company to Coach, is retiring this year.)

Is Coach luxury? Kate Spade? Semi-expensive brands, yes, but I never considered either one luxury. I guess they are “modern luxury” whereas luxury is old-school European expensive, a la Hermes and Louis Vuitton.

I suppose it’s relative. One woman’s Vuitton is another woman’s Coach. Actually it’s all luxury, because we don’t NEED any of it … says the woman who owns a few Coach handbags herself (the classic silhouettes only).

 

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My favorite Classic Coach - The Bleeker Bag in tan. Circa 1996.

Speaking of handbags, I read that Coach is reviving five of their old school styles from the 1970s. Limited edition Coach bags designed by Bonnie Cashin will be available exclusively on Net-a-Porter.com starting June 15th.

Coach is a very different brand these days, but it was once known for understated elegance. It started in New York in 1941 as a line of leather accessories for men. In the early 1960s, Coach hired American designer Bonnie Cashin. She created a timeless look in women’s handbags: no logos, no excessive hardware, only the signature turnlock and leather ID tag. Cashin’s designs were the principal Coach look up until the late 1990s.

Coach Classics available on Net-a-Porter.com. Photo courtesy of Net-a-Porter.com.

I favor Coach Classics for the unique style – part preppy, part arty. Like a cashmere cardie or a gold signet ring, a Coach Classic speaks volumes, but quietly.

There are four old school Coach handbags in my collection. I have a friend who has been sporting her Duffel Coach for over 20 years and it’s still going strong – even better, she says. My mom has a Classic Coach and my sis-in-law, too.  

Are you a Coach Classic gal? What’s your favorite style? Do tell.

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