- Vivian Hendriksz |
London - Miles Cahn, co-founder of leather goods company Coach, passed away in his home in Manhattan, New York last Friday at the age of 95. His passing was later confirmed by his son-in-law, chef Mario Batali.
Born and raised in New York City, Cahn founded Coach together with his wife Lillian in 1961 after they acquired a small leather manufacturer on West 34th Street, known as Gali Leather Products. However, the duo first started out in 1941, producing leather goods for men together with a team of six leather workers under the name Manhattan Leather bags. However, it was not until the company started making women's handbags using the same leather used to make baseball gloves, one of Mrs.Cahn's ideas, that the brand began to carve out a name for itself.
Mrs. Cahn, who passed away in 2013 at the age of 89, is said to have been impressed by the quality and the durability of the cowhide used to produce the gloves and the handbags were a big hit thanks to the sturdy leather, which became soft and supple with time and wear. In 1961, the Cahns also hired Bonnie Cashion, who is seen as a pioneer in sportswear, to design their Coach handbags. She is credited with revolutionizing women's handbags and designed the leather goods house toggle hardware features on the handbags as well as duffle bags, bucket bags and smaller coin purses in bright colours.
The design duo, who are said to have achieved sales of 20 million dollars a year by the early 1980s, continued producing their collections at their 34th Street factory until Coach's sale. In July, 1985, the Cahns sold the leather goods company to Sara Lee Corp for reportedly 30 million dollars. In 1996, Coach hired Reed Krakoff, former president and executive creative director, who has been credited with transforming the company into a global fashion house and expanding its product range exponentially. He was succeeded by Stuart Vevers in 2014, who continues to oversee the creative direction of Coach. Sara Lee Corp spun off Coach in 2000 for approximately 1 billion dollars.