Gary Baseman on his Coach Characters

Illustrator Gary Baseman explains the creative process and inspirations behind his S/S15 collaboration with Coach –



We are big fans of unions between the worlds of fashion and illustration – and Coach‘s S/S15 collaboration with Gary Baseman is a particular joy. Characters that could initially seem whimsical are given a darker edge; the bunnies are blindfolded or have holes in their side, there is something charming yet devilish about the little monsters. Here, we speak to Baseman about his creative process, his experience working with the legendary Stuart Vevers and the beauty and bittersweetness of the human condition.


On Stuart Vevers…
“I wanted it to be a true extension of my own artwork and Stuart [Vevers] really gave a me a lot of freedom to create a strong and playful narrative which fits within his vision of the clothes. I think that he’s just such a master in understanding how women should dress; he allows and helps them discover their own self – and that’s what these creatures are all about. He’s not dictating how you should dress, he is inspiring you to develop your own sense of style, so each person is going to be able to take elements of the collection and create their own world.”


On the beauty and bittersweetness of life…
“For me, these beasts, these bunnies, these bird-girls, they all represent your hopes and your dreams and your fears and the secrets that you keep in your handbag. A lot of Stuart’s inspiration came from David Lynch’s film Lost Highway and, for me, that Lynchian darkness kind of lives inside me all the time… in fact, if I had to use one phrase to describe my own artwork, it’s the celebration of the beauty of the bittersweetness of life. Growing up, I thought that everything had to be ‘perfect’ and ‘right’ – but nothing is ‘right’, nothing is ‘perfect’, everything has flaws but those flaws are beautiful; they make us who we are individually and are a part of our humanity.”



On his creative process…
“When Stuart asked me to start coming up with imagery, these creatures came into my head. The beasts kind of represent the hunger that we all have and, in many ways, the spring Coach girl is kind of misunderstood: maybe she’s from a small town and she has her own sense of style that people don’t understand because she just is a little different, a little odd and doesn’t necessarily fit in. For example, the bunny is finding it hard to see the light, maybe she lives in her own head and is trying to understand a depth beyond the place that she lives in. Then, Kiki, the bird girl, paints her feathers and stands out from the flock.”


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