“I could wear men’s loafers with that sequined number,” Nicole Musselman laughs as she sifts through her son’s backpack which she has filled to the brim with designer footwear on the floor of her design studio. “Either that or a pair of boots.”
Musselman, a self-proclaimed “sexy tomboy,” is a master of the antithetical. Pairing the masculine with the feminine isn’t just a past time for her, it’s an art form. And as she stands in the center of her studio for our photographer, clad in a drapey black romper and enviable Rodarte snakeskin ankle boots, you can’t help but appreciate the contrasts between the rack of bright and textured clothing she has just finished for Resort 2015 and this look she has on (also one of her designs). She is the perfect combination of boy meets girl and everything we here at TKC champion for.
Perhaps it is because the California native now calls the plains of Dallas her home (bringing yet another contrast to her “sexy and flirty meets casual and cool” fashion line), but KOCH is the perfect example of the kind of unexpected contrasts we love in a line. From over-sized cardigans with intarsiaed six shooters on the back to drapey rompers and a boyfriend blazer we have been on the hunt for for years (we’ll take one in every color, please), KOCH had us at hello. We live in it’s staples (the Brett shirt is a must-have for every closet) and play in its statements (there is a sequined mini number from Resort 2015 that we almost risked jail time for).
While in the past you needed access to one of KOCH’s retailers in order to get your hands on this goodness, thanks to its recent addition of e-commerce, spending fall in one of KOCH’s over-sized sweaters is as easy as clicking “add to cart.” We have been promised that more styles will be added soon, so we suggest you go through your couch cushions and start collecting your pennies stat. In the meantime, read on to get the dirt on our girl Nicole and what you can expect from KOCH for Resort 2015 (available for pre-order starting today).
TKC: What made you realize you wanted to be a fashion designer?
NM: For me it has always been about creating a brand that promotes creativity, individuality and clothing that people can throw on in the morning and move through their busy lives. We want the KOCH girl to feel casual but also a little flirty and strong at the same time. More than being a fashion designer, I just wanted to work everyday doing something I loved, and in an office and studio that felt like a second family. The KOCH studio embodies a little tribe of people collaborating and working towards building a company we feel good about and connects us to women.
TKC: What were some of your favorite first designs?
NM: One of my favorite parts of the process is drawing inspiration for the new collection, usually from an inner feeling. From here I start designing prints, shapes and designs, I can identify each season with a time and place in my life. My favorite piece, which I still wear over and over from my first collection, is a sleeveless fitted white leather dress. You can wear it with flip-flops, boots, or trainers. Our second collection was shot in Marfa, and we printed foxes on dresses and wove them on the back of sweaters. We still get people asking for the oversized boyfriend cardigan with the silver fox on the back. Mine is in my closet and has been around the world and back. Our Sophie ruffled short skirt was in the next collection and I have 4 of them in different colors in my closet which I wear like a uniform with our Bret button down shirts or with our printed t-shirts and cardigan sweaters.
TKC: Describe KOCH in one word.
NM: Tomflirt. Thats a sexy, tomboy.
TKC: If KOCH had a motto, what would it be?
NM: Be a sexy tomboy.
TKC: You’re a Californian who lives in Dallas (whoop, whoop!). How do you think being from these two completely different places influences your work?
NM: Everything we do is an evolution of contrasting elements that bring together the thought of individualism. I think this is where the beauty in life lies. Being from California and living in Dallas is a perfect example of combining the eclectic casualness of the West coast with the polished beauty of the south.
TKC: Resort is kind of a fun time of year because there aren’t really any “rules” except to create fun stuff. What was your inspiration for this Resort collection? Were there any themes or images you were drawn to, specifically?
NM: Resort was so fun and was inspired by the 1960’s film, “It started in Naples.” The film is set in Capri, and we designed and digitally printed fabric with the ocean, boats and coastline of Capri. We also did lots of oversized cotton and cashmere sweaters to be paired with sexy beaded dresses, tops and skirts. The collection is a marriage of Italy’s exotic, elegant culture and the unapologetically sexy, laid back spirit of America’s West Coast. Capri meets Cali for a week in paradise.
TKC: You’re a pretty fashionable lady. What are three items in your closet that you can’t live without?
NM: Sara Beltran’s jewelry, short (beat up) boots, flirty short skirts.
TKC: Lipstick or lipgloss?
NM: Lip-gloss. I’m notorious for pulling out Neutrogena clear.
TKC: Heels or flats?
NM: They are both pretty darn great.
TKC: Mountains or ocean?
NM: Oceans for days.
TKC: What is the most daring thing you have ever done?
NM: Have a baby! It’s pretty daring to bring a life into the world and be a mom, so hats off to all you daring, beautiful moms.
TKC: What is the most daring thing you hope to do?
NM: I feel like being a single mom, working every day and trying to do the best you can is pretty daring. Sounds boring, but living your dreams to the fullest, whatever they might be ,is bold. I just had this discussion with a friend and we were talking about the daring things in life. Doing crazy things and traveling crazy places, those things are easy, but making relationships work, expressing your fears and facing your failures, these are really daring things.
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images by SukiLynn for TKC