A New Spirit

By Stéphane Le Duc

In choosing James Franco to be the ambassador of its new fragrance, Coach is making a bold statement.

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Who could be better than this multi-talented actor that always keeps us engaged with his provocative taste, sex appeal, fascination for edgy roles, and great sense of humour? James Franco embodies the modern man, and he’s the perfect choice for the iconic American brand, which was originally founded in New York back in 1941.

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For the talented Art Director Stuart Vevers, recently Accessory Designer Laureate of the year at the prestigious CFDA Fashion Awards, James Franco was an obvious choice: “James was my first and only choice. James is the quintessential-cool Coach guy. He’s handsome, there is a bit of danger and he’s thoughtful and challenging, energetic and prolific.”

This association couldn’t have been better, as both the designer and actor share the same passion in their professional careers. James Franco said it best, “Creativity is the way I engage with life. It’s the way I engage with other people and communicate, and it’s really the way I find meaning in life. I enjoyed collaborating with Stuart. There are a lot of references to Coach tradition in his designs, but with an added spin, and that idea is something I have done in my creative work.”

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Since Stuart Vevers made his debut at Coach fashion house in 2014, creativity has been the brand’s driving force. As much as he was involved in the collection’s design, he was also involved in the image of the new fragrance. “Introducing fashion in the world of Coach was a big part that I wanted to develop. I also introduced men’s fashion because I could not disconnect men from the storytelling, it was part of a global image. I love the idea of coming to this house of leather and [mixing] all those American references together - the t-shirt, the sweatshirt, the sneakers, and the biker jacket - all those things [that] are typically American. I love being in the image development of the perfume also, the design of the bottle, the packaging and also the campaign. For the new men’s fragrance, I wanted something that would feel substantial and rich and something that was part of the history of Coach that would have some longevity. So, I wanted some of the symbols from Coach that are very well-established. I wanted like an engraving in the glass, the turn lock was a reference from the 50s and 60s. Those things are the symbols people know and love as part of the house.”

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The challenge was also successfully completed by perfume makers Anne Flipo and Bruno Jovanovic. “[The] more establish[ed] the brand DNA [is], [the] easier it is for us to create a fragrance that communicates the brand value. This perfume has the spirit and energy of New York City. Its sensuality and its masculine character are inspired by leather. There is some noticeable changing trend in men’s fragrance and we could push [the] boundary a bit further than in fashion itself, as the subtlety of a fragrance make[s] it more acceptable. James Franco is audacious and modern just like Coach’s new fragrance, it’s perfect.”