Five years ago, Kyemah McEntyre went viral for making her own, dashiki-printed prom dress. Now, she’s a fashion-school graduate and a successful artist and designer who had a showing at New York Fashion Week. She’s also the star of Coach’s latest campaign, alongside celebrities and models like Jennifer Lopez, Michael B. Jordan, and Paloma Elsesser.
The campaign features the brand’s new Jean-Michel Basquiat collection, which was first revealed at New York Fashion Week in February. It celebrates the artist’s youthful energy and individualism — traits that McEntyre, who is from New Jersey, says she admires.
“Basquiat’s audacity to just be real transformed all of these old notions of what I had of fine art,” she told Nylon in an interview. “In my head, valuable art was art that could sell in the millions or art that belongs in beautiful homes. It had to be super prestigious or had to be perfect. My work is so much about the imperfections of society and the things that aren’t always beautiful. Somehow his work gives the eye hope even when things look disastrous.”
“Basquiat is one of my heroes,” added Coach creative director Stuart Vevers in a statement. “He embodied the creative, inclusive spirit of New York and was a force for change in his community. I am proud to celebrate his work and values and help bring them to a new generation.”
Coach worked directly with Basquiat’s family on the project. “We really love this collection,” said Jeanine Basquiat, Basquiat’s sister, on behalf of the artist’s family. Basquiat’s niece, Jessica Kelly, also starred in the campaign. “They did a great job in capturing the spirit and energy of Jean-Michel’s work and putting together a perfect group of creative talent to bring this to life.”
See Kyemah McEntyre and the other stars of the campaign talk about Basquiat’s work, below.