Starry, starry night for Coach
Arthur Pena, Justine Ludwig
Justine Ludwig, Peter Panagiotopoulos
Leather on leather for Coach's tabletop
Arthur Pena's art bedecking the menu
Jane Aldridge, Jeff Dashley
Capera Ryan, Max Trowbridge, Shelly Rosenberg
Blake & Brooke Davenport
Wendy & Jeremy Strick
Cindy & Armond Schwartz
Bradley Agather Means
If Coach is having a resurgence, it’s now. The fashion brand known for its iconic C logo and staple leather bags is decidedly branching out in a most artful manner. First came the decision to revamp and relocate its NorthPark Center boutique.
The larger digs — doors open July 13 with live music, cocktails and a bites (all open to the public) — will include more than just the bags that made the brand famous. There are also accessories, travel and gift collections, plus women’s ready-to-wear — all housed in a space that is elevated both in design and in the collections carried there.
What’s more: To celebrate the store’s reopening, Coach, with a little nudge from Dallas Contemporary’s director of exhibitions and senior curator, Justine Ludwig, tapped Dallas artist Arthur Peña to serve as an ambassador-collaborator of sorts. Two of the artist’s large-scale works are installed in the boutique, while an exhibition of his other works hangs in the surrounding NorthPark corridor. Display pedestals boasting Peña’s vivid, 3-D work also anchor the boutique, topped with the latest from Coach’s handbag arsenal.
A few weeks prior to the opening, a contingent from W Magazine jetted in to Dallas to co-host an intimate al fresco dinner party atop The Joule’s Terrace, with W‘s senior accessories editor Nora Milch and the magazine’s associate director of experiences Michelle Bondarchuk in town for the night from New York.
As guests stepped out of the Joule’s glass elevator and onto the dinner scene, one may have thought there was a strict Coach-required dress code — when, in fact, not one bit of attire advice was printed on the invitation. The likes of Bradley Agather Means, Jane Aldridge, Max Trowbridge, Joyce Goss, Capera Ryan, and Brooke Davenport all arrived wearing some iteration of Coach’s line of bomber jackets, while seemingly every attendee was carrying one of Coach’s bold new top-handle bags. (We now know where everyone will turn their shopping attention to for fall.) No doubt Coach VIPs Peter Panagiotopoulos, Ann White, and Richard Butler were thrilled with the onslaught of Coach-clad ladies.
A note for the fashion-minded: Pay special attention to the brand’s modest-sweet array of dresses; they are every bit nostalgic, with whimsical prints, nautical and Peter Pan collars, and vintage-style trims. Several ladies in attendance sported said frocks, and each received endless compliments. With dainty sleeves and tea-length hems, it seems modesty reigns supreme. (At last!)
As for décor? Those aforementioned Peña pedestals stole the show — as did the bags topping them — and tables were set with minimal decorations, save for a pair of long leather runners. As this was one of the rare cool evening’s before summer’s temperatures spiked, guests stayed late sipping Texas-y Moscow mules (hold the gin; add tequila) and with a perfectly mixed crowd that included fashion and art types, dinner convo hopped along a range of subjects, from the Dallas Contemporary’s recent debut at the Venice Biennale as organizer of the Ukrainian pavilion, Coach’s plans to expand its collaborative efforts with artists, and a gracious acknowledgment of fond, longtime friendships.
Peña, as we learned, was one of the first people Ludwig met when she moved to Dallas a few years ago; so a toast to both the artist and curator’s increasing successes was well in order.
Who else dined? Michelle Nussbaumer, Wendy and Jeremy Strick, Cindy and Armond Schwartz, Lynn and Allen McBee, Shelly Rosenberg, Chandra Blaylock, Robyn and Michael Siegel, and Roksalana Karmayzn and Peter Doroshenko.