Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A History of Coach - For The Love of Vintage

Coach was established in 1941 in Manhattan, New York.  At that time it was run by a small family who produced mainly wallets and billfolds.  In 1946 Miles Cahn joined the company, and by 1950 he was running the Coach factory.

Cahn was influenced by the durability of leather baseball gloves and subsequently began producing women's handbags our of cowhide.

In 1961 Cahn bought out Coach and in 1962 hired Bonnie Cashin who was known for her unconventional costumes for 20th Century Fox.  However, her personal esthetics were much more serene and this was something that she brought to the Coach brand.  She favored fun with function, and her signature striped madras cotton lined her bags.  Her designs were sleek and streamlined, very Mid Century Modern that has made a huge comeback recently.

Cashin can be credited with the swingpack design, a bag that was pared down to its most functional elements.  She then added a coin purse to the front of her bags and they were called Cashin Carry.  She introduced the shopping bag totes to Coach, as she herself carried a lot of books around and focussed on her bags fitting the modern woman's needs of something more than the ability to carry just lipstick and keys. Cashin left Coach in 1972.

In 1979 Lew Frankfort joined Coach and is the CEO today.  He credited with establishing Coach as the affordable luxury line between such high end designers as Fendi and Gucci and their knockoffs.

By the 1980's Coach went back to it's traditional leather designs, producing sturdy and sophisticated and briefcases  in blacks, browns, tan, and navy. But in 1993, former Tommy Hilfiger sportswear designer Reed Krakoff joined Coach, as the company expanded to outwear and luggage. Once again, the handbag line got new, modern colors and fun, young designs that were updated every season. Within a decade, Coach introduced the double “C” logo print, produced in a wide range of styles and colors.

Below are just a few examples of the vintage Coach bags we are featuring in our All Coach Auction tonight:

                                   Vintage Leather Lexington brief case

                     Coach Legacy Willis Messenger Bag # 9927 British Tan

Vintage Coach bags were made with a variety of leathers, but most common was what we've come to know as Glove-tanned leather. Vintage Coach is not quite the same as the purses today, because they used heavier leather cowhides. Each were truly handmade by individual artisans, including the overseas plants.  We will go into depth on the types of leathers used in a subsequent article.

And Here is our drawing for tonight: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway