With a history spanning 75 years, it’s little wonder that Coach has racked up such a following. Having pioneered iconic shapes and innovative leather treatments, the leather-goods brand has a long list of greatest hits when it comes to their signature bags. So as Coach marks its diamond anniversary this year and its new direction under creative director Stuart Vevers, Barneys is thrilled to be partnering with them on Coach Vintage, an exclusive capsule collection that celebrates a few of the must-have styles from decades past—but with a modern twist applied to each.

Coach Vintage
COACH VINTAGE Circa-1972 Coach Black Leather Fringed Stewardess Bag / COACH VINTAGE Circa-1973 Coach British Tan Leather Striped Large Dinky Bag / COACH VINTAGECirca-1973 Coach Tan Leather Fringed Large Dinky Bag

Focusing on three of the brand’s most iconic bags—the Stewardess, the Dinky, and the Duffle—Coach Vintage is a collection of authentic vintage pieces collected from around the world in a months-long search. Each of these bags was originally created by Coach in New York in the 1970s and 1980s, and then sent out into the world to live their well-loved lives. The brand then scoured flea markets, vintage stores, and online auction sites to collect the bags, which were sent to Montana for restoration before coming back to their New York birthplace for hand-embellishing and detailing. The updates included the application of fringe as an homage to the American west, stripes to celebrate classic Ivy League style, or rip-and-repair, a process that hearkens back to leather baseball mitts that inspired the brand’s founders in 1941. Each piece is truly one-of-a-kind.

“This feels like the perfect way to honor our 75th anniversary, by bringing together our heritage with something new in one project,” Vevers recently told Harpers Bazaar. “It was lots of fun creating these pieces for Barneys.”

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In the Coach archives, archivist Jed Winkur shared press materials, catalogs, and ads for the original 1970s Dinky bag.

For the inside track on the project, The Window paid a visit to Coach’s midtown headquarters to see firsthand how the project was pulled together. After a private tour of the archives led by Coach’s senior archives manager Jed Winokur, we were lucky enough to see how the updating process was done by hand to each bag. Scroll on for a closer look at both, then check out Barneys to add one of these unique bags to your own collection.

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Especially apt for a leather goods brand, the Coach archives are housed in a former carriage house in midtown Manhattan.
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Senior archives manager Jed Winokur points out one of his favorite pieces from Coach’s collection, a 1970s Dinky bag of the same style bough back for the Coach Vintage collection. While some of the bags were found in pristine condition, other were specifically selected for their own unique and idiosyncratic wear patterns.
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While these specific bags are permanent pieces in the Coach archives, similar styles are included in the collection. Each was hand-refurbished, with special attention paid to bindings, clips, and latches, all while maintaining the original character and wear of the individual piece.
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Moving on to Coach‘s workroom, we see the hand-finished application process that goes into one of striped Dinky bags. Whether striped, fringed, or ripped-and-repaired, each process was completed with the same attention to detail and respect for the original vintage piece.
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A craftswoman begins the update process for one of the Coach Vintage bags by selecting a thread to match the colors being used.
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Each pieces of applied suede is thoroughly prepped, with the first step being to seal the edges.
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After sealing, each edge is then painted to ensure a fully finished look.
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With the same attention to quality that goes into Coach bags when they’re initially made, each piece is firm attached with adhesive prior to stitching.
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A hammer is used to ensure that a firm bond is achieved between the original vintage leather and the newly applied suede.
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The colors of the applied stripes were selected to reference the original colors available when the bags were produced in the 1970s and 1980s.
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A careful hand-applied stitch is the final step in the process.
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The resulting Coach Vintage bags maintain their original quality and personality, but with an updated flair that keeps them feeling fresh today and for years to come.

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