Coco Rocha, 27, has seemingly walked the runways of every major fashion designer out there, but striking a pose or strutting the catwalk isn't quite enough for the Canadian star. Rather Rocha is tapping her entrepreneurial spirit by teaming up with her husband, artist James Conran, to debut Co + Co by Coco Rocha, a line of contemporary sportswear set to launch this March.
For her first pre-fall and spring 2016 collection, the beauty and mother to 1-year-old girl Ioni dabbled with 3-D prints and technological fabrics that use conventions like heat sealed seams. “We’re calling it athleisure meets streetwear,” Rocha tells InStyle of the selection, which she’s planning to sport “to brunch” and “to parties and events.” With prices going from $80 to $300, the range is dancing the line between affordable and aspirational.
We caught up with the busy style darling inside New York City’s Dream Downtown Hotel, where she opened up about what she’s learned as a newly minted designer, her goals for the future, and who she hopes to see in her designs.
InStyle: How does it feel to launch your first-ever collection?
Coco Rocha: "Great! ‘Cause it was like a secret for a year. Everyone loves to say, ‘What are you doing? What’s coming out?’ and you’re like, ‘Nothing.’ You can’t say anything, so it’s so good that we can finally talk about it and show people that it actually exists. I've been so thrilled with what we’ve accomplished, and we’re working already on the next seasons. I feel all grown up now. It has finally happened."
What’s the difference between presenting the clothes and modeling them?
"I remember being the girl that the clothes were made on. So yeah, it’s crazy how it’s evolved in 14 years. When I first started modeling, I remember coming my first day to my agency thinking, because I’m a model, I clearly know how to wear clothes, and I wore huge bell-bottom jeans, huge, not even in season, or anything. And they had stripes of patchwork. And like, a pink top. I remember my agent, Roman Young, he was, like, ‘Burn those.’ In an hour you have a casting with Miuccia Prada.’ So, it’s changed. My whole style has changed, for the better, clearly."
What was your inspiration behind both the pre-fall and spring collections?
"We’re calling it athleisure meets streetwear. The athletic side would be, if you think of any huge sports company, athletic sports, when they pick the materials, they put time, money, energy into finding the new, cool materials. If it’s for comfort, for heat purposes, or for stretching."
Which piece best speaks to the collection?
"This is scuba material and then this is a heat sealed stitch (above). So those are the sort of things that you’ll see and that’s the DNA of this, thinking about the materials, the qualities, and also the price point. I’ve been told for department stores, this is the sort of thing they’re looking for. The girl that is buying this is the girl that loves fashion, obsessed with it, understands it, every day on the computer, searching things. She’s seen every fashion show."
What was the most surprising you’ve learned about design?
"The surprising thing is that I’m not designing for myself."
And what’s been the greatest challenge?
"I would say it’s both the same thing, in that you could comfortably say, ‘Would I wear this? No. And also avoid doing that. And am I comfortable with these colors? No. They don’t go with my skin tones.’ And I noticed I was doing that a little early on. [This collection] is not fabricated for me, but for women out there. That’s been interesting."
Where would you wear these pieces out to?
"I’m going to probably go to brunch in most of this. And I’m going to probably go to parties and events."
Do you have a celebrity in mind who’s your dream Co+Co girl?
"Tilda Swinton. I love her. She has her own opinion on everything: on how she does her makeup; how she does her hair. I remember one of the haircuts I saw on her, I was like, ‘I want this.’ She wears a lot of menswear-inspired clothes. I wish she’d wear this stuff. She’s forward thinking enough, you know. She could do it."
Who did you turn to for advice while piecing the collection together?
"I didn’t tell anyone! The reason was sort of because I thought I don’t want to push this on anyone. I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to love it or like it. I wanted the clothes to speak for themselves. But once it was announced a lot of designer friends phoned up and were like, ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ And it’s been great ‘cause a lot of them have been like, ‘If you need advice, if you need to sit down and figure things out on the business as well as design side, please let us know.’ So that’s been real nice."
Can we expect a children’s line in the future?
"One day! Could you image seeing half of these things in baby size? That’s the one thing. Ioni, when I dress her, she’s always in black. She’s always in dark colors so they think she’s a boy. But I feel like I would love to see her in a mini version of all this, so maybe one day we’ll test it out, see if it works. That would be a lot of fun."