When Coach announced that Reed Krakoff would be leaving the brand in order to to focus on his own brand by mid-2014, the company also mentioned something interesting – that they were looking to sell the Krakoff brand, perhaps to the man himself, perhaps to investors. In essence, Krakoff wouldn’t just be leaving Coach, the brand, but he’d also be leaving Coach, the company, entirely. Earlier this week, Women’s Wear Daily reported that the first element of that separation is complete.

Reed Krakoff, with the backing of a currently anonymous group of investors, has bought his label from Coach, Inc. There’s no word on the value of the transaction or if or how the sale of the brand will affect Krakoff’s potential departure date at Coach, which still remains vague, or when new creative director Stuart Vevers, late of Loewe, will start his new job. For a company as large and corporate as Coach, it strikes me as odd that the transition hasn’t been dealt with more swiftly. The entanglement of Krakoff’s brand certainly complicated things, so hopefully we can get this show on the road soon and see how Vevers affects the brand’s aesthetic.

It’ll be just as interesting, of course, to see how the separation from Coach affects Krakoff’s brand. One of the most immediate ways could be a change in manufacturing – despite their elevated price points, Krakoff’s bags are made in China, just like Coach’s. Similarly priced bags almost always boast a European manufacturing end point these days, even if many of the components passed through China at some point, and high-end customers expect the warm fuzzies of knowing that their bag was birthed on Italian soil. Now that Krakoff doesn’t have the Coach supply chain at his disposal, it would make sense to shift toward a manufacturing process that customers will perceive as more high-quality and luxurious.

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For a man who’s just been given a new job, the detail that former Loewe creative director Stewart Vevers went into when talking to Women’s Wear Daily about his nascent arrival at Coach and what it means for the future of the brand was pretty impressive. Vevers has clearly had some time to consider the company’s idea of its future and how his creative vision fits into it, and we’re feeling pretty excited that it may be a great match indeed.

Vevers told WWD that, first and foremost, he plans to make use of Coach’s leather goods heritage. While that’s not exactly surprising – heritage goods are extremely popular among customers because of the look’s implied luxury – it is right in line with how Coach has gained its most recent success. A more traditional look, mixed with splashes of modernity like brights and colorblocking, has proved key for the brand in attracting sophisticated, high-value customers who may have formerly considered the brand more suited for suburban soccer moms and teenagers. I’m one of those people, and so are many of my friends; although I wouldn’t have considered purchasing a Coach bag a few years ago, I now regularly see simple, fun leather bags from the brand that I’d love to carry. Vevers, with his history at heritage brands like Loewe and Louis Vuitton, is a good match to carry that success forward. Vevers employed that same strategy at Loewe in particular, to considerable success.

The designer’s experience with Paris Fashion Week-approved ready-to-wear will also be useful in hastening Coach’s plan to transition into a full-fledged lifestyle brand instead of simply a destination for accessories. The company already has strategy in place to add more apparel and footwear into its stores, as well as expand its men’s business with more variety and a larger product assortment. Vevers seems on board with that plan, and he also specifically mentioned diversifying the brand’s price point – Coach has dabbled with spendy exotics in the past, but apparently the $5,000 Coach bag will be regularly scheduled programming in the near future. Fret not, though – the interview gave no indication that those bags are going to be made at the exclusion of the brand’s more attainably priced options.

If you have a subscription, check out the full, wide-ranging interview via WWD.

First of all: It’s not Marc Jacobs, so everyone can quit bugging him about it. Second of all: We were correct to speculate that Coach might tap a former Mulberry creative director as heir to Reed Krakoff’s throne when he departs in the near future, but we just didn’t speculate about the right one. Instead of recently deposed Emma Hill, Loewe’s Stuart Vevers, who left Mulberry in 2008, will fill Coach’s top design spot, according to Women’s Wear Daily.

Vevers, a Brit who’s worked at brands from Bottega Veneta to Louis Vuitton, has an excellent European accessories pedigree and was even named the British Council’s Accessory Designer of the Year in 2006. After a stint at Mulberry that set the brand up for its current mass-market success, Vevers was tasked with relaunching Spanish leather good brand Loewe. In his time there, the brand has gone from a relative afterthought in the industry to showing well-received collections at Paris Fashion Week and placing the brand’s Amazona (above) and Flamenco bags in the hands of more than a few chic starlets.

With that history, Vevers does seem to have something of a particular touch for handbags, and it’ll be interesting to see what he does when given the enormous resources of a brand like Coach. Of course, with great power comes great responsibility – this will be Vevers’ most high-profile post yet, and Coach has an expectant and opinionated fan base like few other handbag brands within the industry. Coach’s bags also come in at the most accessible prices of any brand in Vevers’ career; I, for one, can’t wait to see how he translates his modern, luxurious aesthetic to a line of products that lots of people can afford to own.

The future has arrived for Coach, and at least for the moment, it comes in the form of a shiny new website, full of lots of monster-sized product images and new, easier navigation for shoppers looking for that perfect bag. It’s been a long time coming for the brand, whose e-commerce setup has lately felt a bit stale in comparison to department stores’ sites and other online retailers, many of whom carry Coach bags. This new, shopper-friendly design definitely puts the brand on the right track, but it also made us wonder – why do so many designers have such terrible websites?

As someone who spends a fair portion of her life visiting the various online outposts of brands both low and high, I can say with confidence that very, very few of them get it right. Some of the biggest brands in the world make it incredibly difficult to find information on a particular product, and even when it’s there, it’s often hidden behind walls of buggy flash graphics, non-intuitive menus and lots of information about things like the brand’s latest ad campaigns, which most shoppers don’t care about at all. As beautiful as the new season’s supermodel of choice may be, I certainly didn’t go to a brand’s website to admire her. If you eventually do find the piece you’re looking for, there’s no guarantee that the images of it will be helpful, the information about it complete or the opportunity to purchase it even available.

I understand that not only do designers have an image to hold up, but they also want to hold on to an air of exclusivity that can be challenging to maintain through the impersonal world of online shopping. Requiring feats of e-strength doesn’t seem to be the best way to keep out the riff-raff, though, and most brands would do well to take a page from Coach. The new site’s big, beautiful images make the products look expensive and desirable, but you also get plenty of angles and a shot of a model holding the bag for reference. Who says pretty can’t be practical? The new site also features street style images by The Sartorialist, images of celebs carrying Coach and the brand’s current campaigns, but none of that content gets in the way of customers easily navigating to the products they’re interested in and becoming more educated about their purchases. You feel like you’re in the world of Coach, but you don’t feel like you’re being imprisoned there, never to return to the regular Internet.

Ball’s in your court, Everyone Who Is Not Coach. (I’m looking at you, Louis Vuitton.) In the meantime, shop the brand new Coach.com now.

Coach.com New Website Design Coach.com New Design Results Page

It’s been a great week for musical-chairs fashion rumors and it’s only Wednesday. Yesterday, we explored whether or not Marc Jacobs might be leaving his longtime post at Louis Vuitton, and today, Women’s Wear Daily has him as the prospective leader of Coach after Reed Krakoff departs in 2014. Over at The Cut, however, they’re floating Emma Hill’s name as the ideal heir to the Coach throne. Hill, of course, is Mulberry’s creative director – or she was, until she announced her departure earlier this week. Personally, I’m just waiting for someone to shut the music off so everyone can sit down at their random new jobs. (more…)

Twilight actress Ashley Greene was recently spotted ducking into a nail salon in LA with a Coach Bleecker Legacy Weekend Tote on her arm. Coach’s Bleeker line is actually a series of glove-tanned leather bags, briefcases, and travel accessories for dudes, but I kind of feel like they missed the mark on “manly” here. While the “heritage look” they were going for is certainly on-point, the Weekend Tote looks exactly like a giant purse, though it also seems to be very functional as a gym bag. You can grab this oversized tote for $658 at Coach.

Ashley has two new films coming out this year – CBGB, a biopic about New York’s late, legendary rock club, and Random, a horror flick about a college girl alone on campus over a holiday break who becomes the target of a nefarious plot. The Twilight series, her prize cash cow, wrapped up last year after four films.

Depending on your age, odds are that you automatically associate Coach with one of two things: solid-color leather bags in basic shapes, or logo canvas bags with lots of luggage tags and other attendant doodads. While both of those things are still readily available from Coach for the brand’s huge, diverse customer base, many of you have likely noticed that there’s a big middle ground between those two extremes at which Coach has become quite skilled. For Spring 2013, a lot of those bags feature fun textural elements that feel like an exciting direction for the brand.

The collection runs the gamut from matte, python-embossed white leather to animal-print canvas, and every piece feels fresh, spring-like and appropriate for a wide range of customers. When a brand has a reach like Coach’s, developing products that don’t alienate one demographic while satisfying another can be difficult, but I could see most of these bags being carried by women of a whole host of ages and lifestyles. Balance is hard to find, but with bright colors and the right textural elements, Coach seems to have worked it out.

Actress Minka Kelly is the very first celeb we’ve spotted carrying one of the limited edition Coach x Krink bags from Coach’s latest capsule collection. (For the extended deets, check out Amanda’s full write-up on the Coach x Krink collab.) Here’s Minka landing at LAX, carrying a Coach x KRINK Leather Weekend Tote, which obviously makes a most optimal carry-on. You can get this bag for $798 at Coach, as well as browse the rest of the collection.

KRINK (real name Craig Costello) is the third artist Coach has collaborated with in the past two years. This line has a more unisex vibe, with plenty of graphic print leather billfolds and smartphone cases for the dudes, but these decidedly more feminine, oversized screen-printed leather totes are definitely my fave piece from this collection.

Minka Kelly carries a Coach x Krink Weekend Tote at LAX (1)

Let me guess: it’s already Monday, and this wasn’t the weekend you fulfilled your fantasy of going on a spontaneous weekend road trip to the nearest beach or beach-like area. I feel ya – I didn’t do that this weekend, either. There’s always next weekend, though, and the weekend after that; in fact, spring and summer are full of weekends in which I might become the spontaneous beach-goer I would sincerely like to be. To prepare for becoming my most ideal self, I’ve picked some awesome, relatively affordable Coach travel bag staples that would certainly complete the aesthetic picture on my weekend getaway.

Summer weekend travel can have such a great style to it – after all, who doesn’t want to be the woman leaving the office with a chic weekender in woven jute or light leather, filled to the brim with linen shorts and bathing suits? I wish I were that person right this minute, and the week has only just begun. With Coach’s all-American aesthetic and heritage, the brand is perfect for the classic weekend getaway. Shop the full Coach travel selection, including lots of great small pieces, via Coach.com.

Coach Bleecker Canvas Cabin Bag
$698 via Coach

Coach Bleecker Canvas Cabin Bag

Coach Legacy Archive Leather Suitcase
$998 via Coach

Coach Legacy Leather Archive Suitcase

Coach Bleecker Pebbled Leather Cabin Bag
$898 via Coach

Coach Bleecker Pebbled Leather Cabin Bag

Coach Bleecker Beach Cavas Tote
$448 via Coach

Coach Bleecker Beach Canvas Tote

Coach Washed Canvas Beach Tote
$348 via Coach

Coach Washed Canvas Beach Tote

Coach Bleecker Legacy Small Luggage Tag
$38 via Coach

Coach Bleecker Legacy Small Luggage Tag

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