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Coach prepares to close festival in style

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American luxury brand Coach has not re-entered the Bermuda retail scene quietly.

The company is sponsoring the Bermuda Fashion Festival that’s now on. Coach is closing out the week’s events with a black-tie gala honouring company president Ian Bickley and fellow Bermudian Shiona Turini.

Coach was last sold at bygone department store, Trimingham’s. A VIP night last month heralded the sale of their new ready-to-wear collection and iconic bags at Front Street store Lusso. Lifestyle called on Mr Bickley to deliver the goods.

Danilee Trott and the rest of the BFF team are thrilled to have Coach on board as a sponsor. What events are you most looking forward to?

It is a big deal for a global brand of this stature to be involved in the Bermuda Fashion Festival. My being a Bermudian is part of that, but also it gives the potential for future growth of the fashion festival by having important companies like Coach be involved with it.

The things that I think are most interesting are the local designer pieces. Really promoting local designers, but also having the international designers section again, it gives the fashion festival credibility as a broader event in the global fashion community.

They’ve included a local designer in the international show this year.

Yes, Dana Cooper. That is a great step. It demonstrates that local designers can be considered internationally relevant. I think the same thing holds true for my story. I’m not a designer, but I’m a Bermudian that has developed a passion and a strong interest in fashion. I think that demonstrates what Bermudians can do if they work hard. If they believe in themselves, if they have a vision — the opportunities are there.

What can we expect from the July 16 gala?

You can expect the unexpected. Coach is definitely going to put its own unique brand on to the event. I don’t want to give away too many secrets, but we did give away that there is a Coach gift for the gala and Vicki [Abraham, communications coordinator for the City of Hamilton ] hinted that the value of the gift may be more than the ticket.

Our unique positioning as a brand is really about the combination of strong fashion relevance and innovation being driven by our new creative director Stuart Vevers [and] at the same time, reinforcing and bringing out this wonderful 75-year history and heritage of handicrafting leather goods. That unique combination is really what differentiates Coach from other brands. It’s something that people will see and feel as part of the gala dinner.

You’ve been with Coach for almost 25 years, and witnessed some big changes in that time. What can Coach devotees look forward to in the future?

They can look forward to continued great product and innovation. Stuart is really hitting his stride and gaining great recognition for the work he has done in transforming this iconic American brand and modernising it and strengthening its relevance. I think we can look forward to Stuart continuing to surprise and delight consumers with the products that he’s developing.

I think you can also look forward to continued reinforcement of the quality that Coach products stand for. When consumers buy a Coach bag it’s something they can keep for a long time — it’s timeless and it’s an investment.

Regarding the growth of the Bermuda Fashion Festival, what do you hope to see?

Beyond continuing to gain more international recognition and credibility as being part of the overall global fashion calendar, I think a stronger integration with the whole business community around the fashion festival will convert it into something that can be commercially interesting for all of the companies and merchants that participate. That integration, for me, is also an opportunity beyond the global recognition of the event.

Describe Bermuda’s style in three words.

Casual, timeless, elegance.

The Coach Black Tie Gala starts at 7pm with cocktails in the Poinciana Ballroom at Fairmont Southampton. Tickets are $299; tables of 10 $2,750. Tickets can be purchased on ptix.bm or by e-mail: info@bermudafashionfestival.com

Coach tags on display. (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Stylish and elegant: the new look of Coach. Pictured are Melissa Fiddick, back, and Langre Edwards, front (Photograph by Akil Simmons)