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Meet Coco: Housing Works Style Icon

Meet Coco: Housing Works Style Icon

Mar 16th 2021

The latest collection on the eShop is curated by Coco, Curated Events Manager, makeup artist, and Housing Works' own style icon for 20 years!

What is your style inspiration? Any style icons?

I love Issey Miyake. My icon is Grace Jones, and I remember the first time I saw her in Pleats Please – I was like YES! That is what I want.

How did you find your way to Housing Works?

I moved to New York City from Houston to do makeup over twenty years ago.

When I got to New York, I was working for MAC but went freelance and was looking for something else to supplement my freelance work. I remember applying and traveling to the Housing Works warehouse in Long Island City for my interview. I walked in and gasped with excitement, “What is going on in here!?” There was haute couture, Saint Laurent just hanging about. My interview was on hat day, and I was greeted by my interviewer who was wearing a Marge Simpson wig!

I have always loved clothing. I went to school for fashion design–I used to design gowns and bridal looks for the socialites in Houston.They never wanted to look like the other ladies, so we had free reign to be creative and create couture looks for them. I love that at Houisng Works I get to build collections for our Shops by pulling together the most unique and coveted pieces.

What is one of your best thrift finds?

Growing up in Houston there were so many socialites that would not be seen twice in a garment, so there was so much that was accessible in thrift stores. There was this one shop that was run by these senior ladies that knew their stuff. I was such a regular that they brought me into their ‘vault’ racks of designer gowns. My mouth just dropped. When I was moving to NYC they gifted me a Balenciaga gown from the 40’s. I kept it on a mannequin in my Chelsea apartment. One day I started getting calls form the Smithsonian! They tracked me down, and I ended up donating it to them. I didn’t understand how important it was at the time, but it was definitely one of my best thrift finds–a literal museum piece!

What can we expect from Coco’s room?

Whenever I put together a collection, it is definitely influenced by my mood and what's going on around me. And this first collection is focused on bringing forth some color. It feels like it’s going to be the first spring in forever after this tough year, so I wanted some joy and fun.

What about New York City inspires you?

The people. I go through Port Authority on my daily commute, and I love to see people wearing clothing in unexpected ways. It helps me understand where a lot of the inspiration for designers is coming from. It’s the people, it's the streets.


For more style inspiration, follow Coco on Instagram at @ecoconyc