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Coco Rocha On Her Road From Fashion Model to Fashion Designer

Photograph by star pix/marion curtis
Photograph by star pix/marion curtis

Supermodel Coco Rocha has years of experience wearing the world’s finest designers and being shot by some of the industry’s best photographers. “I always credit [famed photographer] Steven Meisel with giving me this career. He picked me from obscurity and really became a mentor to me,” says Rocha. After that early endorsement by Meisel, she graced the runway for everyone from Marc Jacobs to Chanel and made the covers of Elle and Vogue (the latter in nine different countries). When Rocha, who lives in White Plains, NY, with her young daughter, Ioni, and husband (and business partner), James Conran, launched Co+Co by Coco Rocha with partner Paragon Project, she was ready but not quite confident. “In the beginning, I felt like I went back to my first years of modeling, when I felt a little uncomfortable in my surroundings. I wasn’t feeling comfortable in the title of ‘designer’ yet. For instance, I had an idea of adding a layer of mesh underneath a pencil skirt—a detail I had really only drawn out in my mind until I suggested it to James and the team at Paragon. When I showed them, they loved it and made it happen. After that, I learned that there was no need to doubt myself,” says Rocha.

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With that attitude, she’s launched Co+Co, a street-wear line comprised of innovative fabrics, clean silhouettes and structured pieces, ranging from $80 to $300. And although she still has her supermodel figure, this line isn’t just for those with a catwalk-ready shape. “When designing the collection, I had to keep in mind that I couldn’t design for myself only. One example is the pleat-front cropped trouser in a baggy fit. Personally, I have always been drawn to pants that are tighter. So this style made me a little nervous, but now I love it. I live in baggy pants now, all the time,” says Rocha. Other highlights of her collection are shirtdresses and slouchy, lightweight trench coats. “It’s sort of that menswear for women look that’s so en vogue right now,” says Rocha. One trend you won’t see? What she describes as the “Boho Coachella” look: “Feathers, too much fringe and flower crowns are so overdone it’s painful.”

Shoppers will find her spring collection online at, and Westchester residents may spot the model/designer at her favorite local hotspots, like Harvest on Hudson and Blue Hill at Stone Barns. “I feel like we have the best of both worlds living in Westchester. We have trees, beautiful scenery, space at home and peace and quiet in the evening,” says Rocha. “But just a few minutes and miles away, we have New York City at our fingertips and all the great culture that comes from living in proximity to that.”

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