Emerging Talent: Brock
Meet the husband and wife duo behind BROCK COLLECTION, an intriguing label taking American fashion on a new course.
In the current fashion landscape dominated by buzz and hype, Kristopher Brock and Laura Vassar took an entirely different approach to launching their label in 2013. For their debut Fall 2014 collection, they traded the catwalk for an intimate private trunk show during Paris Fashion Week. In a handful of seasons the couple, who split their time between New York and L.A., have developed a cult-like following for their effortlessly luxurious clothes that elevate the casual and minimal to something unique.
On meeting & working together…
Vassar and Brock first met and fell in love, while students at New York’s Parsons The New School of Design. By the time the pair enrolled at the school, they had already racked up several years of experience under their belts. Vassar developed a career as a sought after celebrity and editorial stylist in L.A., before working under Olivier Theyskens at Theyskens’ Theory. While Brock, who began sewing at the age of six, has accumulated a decades worth of experience as a skilled tailor and pattern maker.
“After graduating and getting married, we both worked in various positions in the industry before launching our own line, and having that experience has helped us build a foundation for the label,” says Brock, who together with Vassar wanted to create a romanticized vision of American fashion. “There’s always been this heritage of sportswear or practical separates imbedded in American fashion, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be boring or any less luxurious,” says Vassar, who recently gave birth to the couple’s first baby.
“Becoming parents has definitely informed the way we approach designing clothes, in terms of creating something that is at once desirable but also comfortable and wearable,” she adds, noting that designing as a couple has also helped them craft a unique voice for the label. “We both come to the table with different skills that allow us to challenge and support each other. We can reflect and bounce ideas off of each other, and having that constant feedback allows us to focus and refine our collections each season,” observes Brock of their collaborative design process.
Crafting a unique vocabulary…
Since their discreet debut, the pair has quickly established a distinct vocabulary for their line; one fusing a European couture sensibility informed by innovative construction techniques and detailing with the clean lines and proportions of American sportswear. “We wanted to design clothes that would appeal to a diversity of women, from our friends to our mothers,” notes Vassar, of the couple’s streamlined clothes, which on closer inspection reveal thoughtful details such as hidden snaps on tailored jackets, or bias stitching to create soft draping on a dress.
To achieve their offhanded approach to chic dressing, the couple also focus on sourcing custom embroideries and fabrics. Mixing the luxurious with the casual, such as luxe brocades with vintage denim, has become a hallmark of their distinctive style. “These are luxurious clothes, but they are also not precious. They’re meant to be approachable and lived in. It’s about making wardrobe staples more special, and making women feel good when they wear these pieces,” says Brock.
A timeless fashion muse…
When asked who they would most like to dress, the pair site the late Carolyn Bessette Kennedy as a recurring muse throughout most of their collections. “Carolyn Bessette never went out of style, you look at her images today and they still look current. She had a timeless sensibility that epitomized what minimal chic dressing was all about in the ‘90s,” observes Vassar, noting that the duo strive for that timeless appeal in their own collections.
“She would pair a tailored white cotton shirt with a floor-length evening skirt and looked effortlessly chic,” says Brock, who for Spring created hand-embroidered cotton and lace dresses that elevate daywear to “something special.” “We also designed the collection while living at my parents’ home, which my mom designed,” explained Vassar, of the house’s Gustavian Swedish-style, which informed the collection’s clean lines and subdued color pallet, which debuts this month on DNACHIC.COM.
“There’s always been this heritage of sportswear or practical separates imbedded in American fashion, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be boring or any less luxurious,” says Vassar.