Once the home to party and occasionwear, Coast has been given a glam shake-up by new CEO, Kate Bostock. Injecting the brand with a dose of laidback, luxe cool, Kate has managed to take it straight to the top of our AW14 hitlists. We caught up with Kate to chat all things fashion, Coast and the new season…
Kate, we love the new Coast collection. Tell us a little bit about it…
Dressing up has changed. It’s no longer about shopping for that one-off, extra special occasion, but for all those events we have in our lives. Be that work, out with the girls, dinner, holidays and the new rules of dressing for weddings – it shouldn’t be too formal or fussy. So the collection offers relaxed, versatile pieces designed to make us feel fantastic.
Coast has long been known for occasionwear, but this season sees an edgier, more directional look. How would you say the brand has changed since you became CEO, and why?
We’re actually dressing up even more [and] for a wider range of events, but with a more relaxed attitude. So I wanted to broaden the offer with much more choice! Our customers asked us to push the brand towards an edgier direction making it appropriate for dressing up for lots of going out activity. She also reminded us of different body shapes, sizes and affordable price points so that’s what we have incorporated into the range.
There’s also an emphasis on more accessible price points for the first time – ie dresses at the £85 mark. How have you achieved this without compromising the quality Coast is known for?
Getting to know the customer has taught us spending more than £100 on a dress or outfit is such a considered purchase, we knew we had to be offering her more below this price point. By working with our suppliers we’ve created some amazing pieces such as a floral jacquard print shift dress available for £85 and a gorgeous, slinky maxi dress with contrast panelling for £95. Coast is known for and is incredibly proud of its extra attention to detail, so producing must-have, unique and special product with no compromise to quality is still very much the USP of the brand.
How would you sum up the new Coast look?
Confident, polished and contemporary.
Who would you love to see wearing the collection?
We love to see celebrities wearing our clothes (which we do quite often) but equally, being out and about and seeing girls in our product and having fun is what it’s all about. I also love receiving a call from a friend who has made a great purchase.
What are your top picks from the autumn collection?
There’s a navy lace co-ord set I love. It offers great versatility as can we worn as a set or as separates, styled with other pieces. It also accommodates different body shapes, those whose top half is slightly different in size to their bottom and visa versa. I think it’s a great reflection of everything that’s new about Coast. We also have some beautiful coats – in fact lots of great pieces so a whole new wardrobe for me!
Which key trends are you championing this season?
Coast will never be a slave to the season’s trends. We carefully curate the collection to include those trends that work for the brand and customer. However this season we’ve worked hard with our print handwriting to recognise catwalk influences uniquely designed in house. Colour palette, silhouette and fabric are all in line with runway trends. Our collection is bang up to date but deliberately styled to be long-term favourites.
Do you think the designs will be showcased on the FROW’s during London Fashion Week – have any fashionistas already snapped pieces up?
I hope so… I know you girls at Look have identified a few pieces from the collection to wear at Fashion Week! We also have a lot of blogger fans who really champion the brand so they may be wearing a few Coast pieces too.
You’ve been called ‘The Queen of the High Street’ – how does that make you feel?
It’s not a phrase used by my family or colleagues but I feel proud to have been recognised for a career I love that brings me so much satisfaction.
You’ve worked for some of the biggest high street names in the business, how have you honed your skills/fashion eye?
Design and buying for the high street for over 35 years builds a lot of experience. I know and have grown up with the customer and most important is keeping in touch and listening to what she wants. Joining Coast I learnt really quickly our customer often loves the look of our product but didn’t feel good. Looking good is still important but feeling great is even better.
Is Coast a different challenge to your former roles at Asos and Marks & Spencer?
Coast is a brand I love and have always had an affinity with. This is my first role as CEO for a brand and I’m really excited about the opportunity we have to develop something really special.
By Sophie Haslett