It’s no secret that Coach’s Stuart Vevers is highly skilled at distilling American fashion into its most iconic, cinematic moments.
After exploring everything from Western motifs to ’80s latchkey kids, the designer and executive creative director is moving into a new era of Americana — Millennial nostalgia. Case in point: The shoes that the American brand showed on the runway at its spring ’23 ready-to-wear men’s and women’s collections on Monday at New York Fashion Week.
Held at the Park Avenue Armory on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, the collection opened with some of the usual tropes of American fashion, starting with a beige world of khakis, trenches and preppy separates. It then segued into an edgier lineup of leather jackets, many of which were worn oversized as dresses.
Where there were plenty of sneakers, styled as grungy high-tops with an ’80s feel (per usual for Coach by Vevers), plus a series of sweet Mary Jane heels worn with quaint socks, it was a series of jelly sandals that sparked a gut reaction — likely a collective one amongst the show’s Millennial attendees.
While the shoe first became popular in the early ’80s when an actual company called Jelly Shoes gained traction in Paris with an open-cage ballet flat style, it gained a more mainstream American ubiquity in the early ’90s, with the ballerina but also with a fisherman-style sandal. Peruse any listicle that waxes poetic on fashion nostalgia for ’90s kids and the jelly sandal is sure to be included.
At Coach, the sandal appeared with both men’s and women’s looks and was styled with plenty of leather to toughen it up. The sandals also came with coordinating PVC clutch bags, also done in bright colors to provide further punctuation to the dark neutral ready-to-wear.
Millennials have been waiting for an excuse to get back into jellies. Coach just might help make the trend a reality next spring.