Coach’s Stuart Vevers Talks About His Brand’s Secret Weapon: Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez’s sophomore collaboration with Coach hits stores today, both online and brick and mortar. The pop phenom is Coach’s secret weapon: When Gomez shares a photo with her 141 million Instagram followers that includes a Coach piece, the brand’s online engagement doubles, as do their weekly new followers. A video Gomez shared at midnight has already racked up 3 million-plus views. (Her deal was, now understandably, valued at $10 million.)

The collection’s logo, “Not perfect, always me,” is written in Gomez’s handwriting, stitched into clothing pieces and embossed on the signature handbags. It’s a killer distillation of what made her a star from the jump, a cherubic force radiating authenticity and relatability while many of her peers were still pretending they were better than their fans.

The collection, codesigned with the house’s creative director, Stuart Vevers, includes a lavender-and-lace silk skirt, plus a black leather jacket with a navy faux-fur collar. “I like a bit of the badass side,” Gomez told ELLE. She’s arguably most excited about her signature fanny pack, the Selena Quote Belt Bag, which she argues should be part of any modern woman’s arsenal.

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Selena Belt Bag, $195

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“We don’t wear heels all the time. We want to wear sneakers with our dresses,” she says. “No one wants to carry the big purses. I go to amusement parks or take walks and I love the idea that it’s right there—an iPhone, credit cards and Chapstick. That’s all that matters.”

How involved was Selena in creating the collection?

Stuart Vevers: Very involved. We’ve gotten to know each other quite well—at shoots, events or MET Ball fittings. She’s been in multiple campaigns now, and we’ve hung out in London and at her house in L.A. It’s really special when you sit together as two creatives and come up with an idea from scratch. It’s one of the most satisfying parts of my role.

What type of conversations do you have when you’re starting a collaboration?

We talked about how her style’s evolved. Right now, she really likes feminine, sophisticated pieces combined with something sporty, [like] a slip dress with a sneaker, or a skirt with a hoodie. It’s that juxtaposition. We set up a room with loads of stuff: fabric swatches, embroidery pieces, vintage Coach from our archive. Selena tried quite a lot of things on, mixed them up. It was quite free. We’re creating things that Selena wants: What would you like to wear, Selena? What color would you like? It’s really fun and natural.

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Selena Slip Dress, $495

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Can you tell me about the collection’s motto?

“Not Perfect, Always Me.” We didn’t sit down and say, “Let’s write a motto.” She was doodling—the paper and the pencil were on the table—and she just wrote it. I think it represents what a lot of people love about Selena: her authenticity, her honesty. I loved it.

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Selena iPhone Case, $50

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Why does she fit the Coach brand?

The woman I design for is authentic, honest, and presents a romantic charm mixed with a cool attitude. Selena embodies those qualities perfectly. She really wants to understand what we do philanthropically. Coach supports Step UP, which is an organization that mentors young women in high school. Selena’s done some events with us and with Step Up. That was as important to her as the fashion.

What’s she like when no one else is around?

She’s really warm, a real pleasure to be around. I love getting sneak previews of her new music or videos. After the last spring show, she introduced me to this super cool Italian restaurant in Queens, Park Side Restaurant. It took over an hour to get there. It’s not a super fancy Manhattan restaurant, but it was more charming and fun because of that. Also, when we do her fittings, she’s so lovely to everyone, really thoughtful and caring. She wants to know about people’s lives. That’s really striking to me.

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