Kate Moss will forever be the face of British fashion, at least in my eyes. The plethora of magazine editorials throughout the last 30 years has made her glorious face impossible to have missed. From the legendary Calvin Klein 1992 Campaign with Mark Wahlberg to the Vogue December 2000 silhouette Gold Issue, her oeuvre is sprawling and representative of key events in fashion and culture, nationally and internationally.
Moss is not one devoted to social media; thus, she remains one of the few celebrities who has maintained an aura of illusiveness and exclusivity. When images do surface, I almost feel as if I am getting a little insight into the private life of the self-contained supermodel.
September 10th, 2020 Kate Moss was spotted in Hampstead, London wearing a Coach x Jean-Michel Basquiat Trench Coat. And this got me excited.
The clothing and accessories adorned with Basquiat motif’s, such as the crown and dinosaur, launches September 28th and is apart of Coach 2020 Fall Collection. Stuart Vevers, Coach Creative Director states ‘Basquiat is the ultimate cultural icon and a symbol of the unorthodox creativity that is nurtured in a place like New York’.
With NYC being an integral part to both the brand’s identity and Basquiat’s fame, engaging in the elite art circles in the 80s, the collection seems hardly forced, rather a natural pairing. Think back to the 2018 Coach x Keith Haring collaboration, again another New York based artist who embellished the famed leathers of Coach. Their creative team seem to know what’s up, and claps must go out to them. There are no cringeworthy, disingenuous influencer collections and for that we thank God and Vevers!
An all-black and brown campaign was used to promote the collection across social media and the imagery is simply strong and empowering. Subsequently, here I appreciate the absence of Kate Moss - a phrase I feared I would never say. Michael B. Jordan, Jon Batiste and Jenifer Lopez to name a few were shot in the Basquiat-based garms by photographer Micaiah Carter. Jessica Kelly, Basquiat’s niece also featured, intertwining an essence of Basquiat’s lineage and familiarity in the collection. Carter has championed Basquiat’s effortless cool-remove in his imagery - referential to that of the 1985 New York Times Magazine cover in which the artist-rebel wears a Giorgio Armani suit whilst leaning back on a chair barefoot; an image which epitomises Basquiat in all his masterful glory.
As much as I, an Art History student, and seemingly the world can gaup at the talents of Jean-Michel Basquiat and his work created in his short 27 years of life- I fear that tokenism of artistic inclusivity has played a part in his success. Beyond the short-term optic ‘Blackout Tuesday’ support of the Black Lives Matter movement, was a larger message broadcasted of education and reflection into the prevailing systemic racism. Now more than ever black voices, artists and creatives should be recognised in a conscious effort to counter the institutional whitewashing. What would have been braver of Coach is to have collaborated with numerous up-and-coming POC artists, raising their voices and viewership further. This would have stripped any fears of the brand capitalising on the talents of an already well-loved black artist, one which will undoubtedly make them dollar!
Though I believe that this collection has great integrity and beauty within its designs, exposing the world to new black visionaries is something fashion brands of such stature should be doing. This would allow for greater publicity and traction for these artists in hope to diversify the canon... beyond Basquiat.
I will continue to wishfully lust after the Coach x Jean-Michel Basquiat trench worn by Kate Moss in beautiful North London, yet I fear any student discount on such a piece will remain significantly inadequate. I may have to lurk around Hampstead in hope for another Moss spotting and ask to borrow, or wait till it eventually filters down into a vintage shop.
But for that bad boy of a Basquiat trench, I shall be patient!
Feature image courtesy of vogue.com