Camila Mendes on Coach, ‘Riverdale,’ and Wearing Her Undies on the Street

The newest member of the Coach Family says she still has a Coach bag from elementary school.

Camila Mendes In My Tabby Coach Campaign

Courtesy Coach

"The more skin I can show, sometimes, the better," Camila Mendes says very sincerely, referring to her now-viral bra-and-briefs outfit at New York Fashion Week. It's a look that raised eyebrows at the Coach presentation, not only for obvious reasons, but because Mendes explained that she actually saw the outfit as understated. She wanted the spotlight on the jacket, and it's clear she accomplished just that. 

"I think it's funny that wearing underwear on the street, people say the underwear was a statement, but for me, it was the jacket that was the statement," she says. "Everything underneath was so understated."

Now, however, the spotlight is clearly on her. In the wake of Riverdale's final season, Mendes joins storied American fashion brand Coach as one of its new spokespeople, though the label would much rather refer to her as a member of the family.

Mendes has her own history with Coach, much like many people her age do. At 28, she explains that she got a bag while she was in elementary school — and that she still has it ... sort of.

"My first bag ever, my first designer bag was a Coach bag. My dad got it for me for my birthday or a graduation, I can't really remember," she explains. "There's a photo of me right after I had opened it, cross-legged, with so much sass and attitude, wearing a full pink outfit with my pink Coach purse." 

Mendes adds that she'd still use it today without hesitation, Y2K resurgence or not, if she could only find it.

"I don't know where it is," she admits. "And I need to find it."

The bag she's loving the most now is Coach's Tabby style, which she carries in the brand's In My Tabby campaign. The style is "the perfect size," Mendes explains, and she was excited to be a part of visuals that subverted the "What's in My Bag" videos that proliferate social media.

"I always would reference them as a funny thing about being in the industry," she shares. "Everyone always wants to know what's in your bag and I think that's such a funny thing. When I saw that we were going to do a little satire on that, I thought it was brilliant."

Mendes joins other members of the Coach Family, including rapper Lil Nas X, model and singer Kōki, and Chinese actress Wu JinYan, all of whom share their stories for the In My Tabby campaign — in their own unique ways, of course. Mendes's psychedelic, candy-hued video sees her embracing her multiple selves, literally, as multiple Camilas show off the latest Tabby bag colors and Coach's ready-to-wear collection (the varsity sweater, emblazoned with a C for both Coach and Camila, is already a standout favorite).

Camila Mendes In My Tabby Coach Campaign

Courtesy Coach

"I've always believed that fashion should be about more than only style, it should be about community, and creating safe spaces where people feel free to express themselves," Stuart Vevers, Coach's creative director, said in a statement. "In My Tabby brings together our Coach Family and collaborators to celebrate stories of creativity and courage that embody our vision for Coach to inspire people to fully express all of who they are."

Speaking of inspiration, Mendes says that the clothes she saw at the now-infamous boyshorts-clad fashion show were just as tantalizing as the accessories that the brand is known for. The aforementioned sweater and Mendes's oversized jacket are just a few highlights.

"Every single outfit that I saw, I was like, 'I want it, I want it, I want it,'" she said of Vever's Fall 2023 offerings. "I would see myself wearing all of those things. I think sometimes, you can go to these fashion shows and you can like the concept behind it, but you're like, 'I don't know how I could wear that in real life.' Coach ready-to-wear is so approachable and I love that."

She went on to say that while the Tabby is her favorite style at the moment, the brand's viral pillow bag and jelly bags are also on her must-have list.

"I love bags. I have a bunch of them and I like being able to switch them out and have that be the statement," she said of curating her Coach collection. "I really love the Tabby bag."

While the new Coach partnership is the start of something new and beautiful for Mendes, she's well aware that she's bringing another chapter of her life to a close. Riverdale is set to end its run with its seventh season, though that doesn't necessarily mean an end to the TikTok account she shares with co-stars Madelaine Petsch and Lili Reinhart.

"I would like to keep it alive in some capacity," she says of @blondebrunettereadhead. "We probably won't be able to post on it as much as we used to, but I don't see a point in deleting it. I'm going to see these girls regardless of the show being over."

Fans are prepping to say goodbye officially when the season premiere hits the CW on Mar. 29, but Mendes is also getting ready to bid farewell to the series that catapulted her (and her famous eyebrows) to stardom.

"It's such a bittersweet feeling," she said of the show's end. "It's the end of an era, and it's going to be so weird not having the show as an anchor in my life, because it has been for basically my entire twenties. But simultaneously, I'm so excited for this next chapter."

But not to worry. She'll have a few things to remind her of her time as Veronica Lodge. With a laugh, she says that she's managed to get a few keepsakes from set — and that they're some of the most outrageous things she could have snagged.

"One of the props people gave me a gift," she says. "There's a portrait that hangs above Hiram Lodge's office that's of Veronica, cross-legged with her hands on her knees. It's very regal and I have it above my guest bathroom toilet currently. And I intend on stealing a different artwork that's of Veronica walking through lions. Once the show's over, I'm going to ask them to give me that. I also want that in the bathroom. I just want people to be peeing and then looking up at me staring at them."

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