Brock Collection RTW Spring 2019

Breakfast at Le Coucou — a delightful way to start a Sunday morning, particularly so during the frenzy of New York Fashion Week. Laura Vassar and Kris Brock chose the restaurant, one of their favorites, as the venue for their spring Brock Collection show, imagining throughout the design process how the clothes would look in the setting.

The answer: Clothes and space looked made for each other, the undone gentility of the exposed brick walls reflecting the subtle touch of toughness beneath the collection’s prettiness. In their show notes, the designers said they had considered “this notion of raw American romance.” “We wanted it to be a breath of fresh air, and for [it to] feel alive and courageous,” Vassar said backstage post-show. “Reading about and looking at Georgia O’Keeffe’s work and how she approached it — expressing that [which] she couldn’t find words for, a feeling of wanting to do something vibrant and alive.”

For the Brock duo, vibrant and alive is synonymous with romantic and sexy-pretty. Here, they imbued their lingerie-derived signatures with a casual attitude in washed, rumpled fabrics. Wallpaper prints had a vintage feel while ikat patterns most specifically referenced O’Keeffe’s Southwest. The designers love a corset construction, and this time out delivered it in frilled, linear silhouettes with a hint of prairie vixen. There were also slips that fell from the body.

It was all lovely, yet with a specificity that will require some diversification if significant growth is a goal. To that end, a sportswear presence, including a charming strapless, ruched peplum top over striped pants, was but one indication that the brand-building wheels are turning. As for the two others, whether or not a millinery collaboration with Nick Fouquet will cross over from runway trope to real-life headgear remains to be seen. But Tabitha Simmons’ footwear — no question. Sometimes raw-and-refined step out together. Bring on those feathered, beribboned slides.