Deskside

These Vogue and Rag & Bone Alums Are About to Dominate Your Closet

Stripes on stripes on stripes.

By: Laurel Pantin
Styling: Alicia Cesaro
Photography: Renée Rodenkirchen

What happens with two Vogue veterans, and one Rag & Bone alum get together? Magic, apparently, in the form of drop everything and buy it now (!!) wardrobe essentials. The common thread between the three? An obsession with stripes, which somehow work their way into every piece of the La Ligne’s debut collection. And in case you’re thinking, ‘how many different ways are there to do stripes?’ Let us tell you, A LOT. And we want each and every one of them. From how they got started in their careers (Senior Market Editor at Vogue anyone?), the inspiration behind their new line (pun totally intended!), to the easiest way to make wardrobe basics look decidedly not basic, Valerie Boster, Molly Howard, and Meredith Melling have you covered.

 

ON HOW TO BECOME A VOGUE EDITOR, OR HEAD OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT FOR RAG & BONE:

“So I started off as an accessories assistant at Harper’s Bazaar before moving to Vogue in 2004 as a fashion assistant. Eventually, I became a market editor and handled some of the fringe markets like cashmere tees, denim, lingerie and activewear and then became bookings editor, so I was responsible for the bookings and casting for the magazine and .com.” -Valerie Boster

“I started as an investment banker, I worked at Credit Suisse in New York and then in London. After that I went to Rag & Bone where I ran business development and I worked on a variety of things there, but kind of got my hands dirty in all different aspects of the business and helped to oversee the sale of a minority position of the company. And after that I left Rag & Bone to start this company with these fabulous ladies!” -Molly Howard

“I started my career in fashion at Vogue as an assistant, and I kind of climbed through the ranks doing various different degrees of ‘market editor.’ I edited the index section of the magazine for ten years and I worked very closely with the CFDA/Fashion Fund for ten years. After that, when Valerie and I left Vogue we started La Marque, and then we met Molly and ever since we’ve been working on La Ligne.” -Meredith Melling

 

ON WHAT INSPIRED THE BRAND:

“Well we’re all first and foremost obsessed with stripes. It’s something that Meredith and I had a mutual love for when we were at Vogue, Molly is very like-minded in terms of her aesthetic. And it wasn’t really until we met Molly that the business aspect of the brand really came into being and this was something that we were finally able to get off the ground.”

“It begins and ends with La Ligne. So I mean, there are certainly pieces that explore, whether or not it has just a line on the collar or detail on the rib, or ribbing detail. The Essential collection is the evergreen pieces that will always be available on the site. The Edition collection will be the way we explore and manipulate stripes in further collections. But in future seasons maybe it’s exploring pinstripe or a plaid or pleating, seams, color-blocking. Anywhere that stripes and lines intersect is the inspiration behind it all. It’s pretty endless.” -VB

 

ON THE IDEAL LA LIGNE GIRL:

“Our muses, and our whole approach to stripes comes from a much more European inspiration as opposed to something preppy or nautical. And so, you know, our inspiration boards are covered in images of Charlotte Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin—the classics.” -MM

“You know, and she loves fashion and likes to have fun with it, so we wanted to make sure that our price point reflected that. It’s certainly something that we kept in mind when designing the collection and also getting the incredible fabrics and quality. But really, our customer just loves getting dressed.” -VB

“And also, she doesn’t take herself too seriously. There’s obviously a lot of sense of humour that we put into our brand, we like a lot of puns, so we have a lot playing with lines and stripes. None of us take ourselves too seriously, we think our customer doesn’t either. Also comfort is important. She likes comfort. All of the clothing is really wearable. We say that it’s clothing to eat, sleep, dance and drink in. You never really want to take it off, we don’t want to be clothing that you can’t wait to get home and take it off. We want the exact opposite.” -MH

 

ON THE NEW ESSENTIALS:

“Essentials is a good word. Because that’s what we call the whole collection—it’s more classic pieces. And that’s kind of the idea, like Val said, the Edition explores fashion a little bit more I guess and Essentials we want to be pieces that live on forever. So while Edition will be seasonal we hope that Essentials just remains. That was kind of the idea behind designing it—it’s the perfect button-down, the perfect t-shirt, the perfect pant, etc etc. But we all have our favorites.” -MH

“Yeah I mean, there’s the pajama button down that Meredith was wearing and it has a matching, black silk pajama bottom. The fabric is so delicious on your skin but it it’s so luxurious that it reads black tie if you put a blazer on it. So you know you can dress it up, dress it down, but that’s something I feel like is extremely versatile for any women's closet. She can also break it up and it be a shirt that she wears to work or something that she can unbutton just so, and wear out at night with a pair of heels.” -VB

“And that’s part of the fun of our brand, and what we’re trying to do with it. On the site we have a styling tool that shows you three different ways to wear every garment. And it’s great because what we think is an essential might be a little bit intimidating for someone who’s not super courageous when it comes to fashion. They might think ‘I can’t wear something that looks like a pajama shirt out’—but that’s what we’re trying to show you. We can make these items that maybe would be intimidating to some, and show how easy they actually are to wear. And that’s a perfect example of a piece that you can literally wear from work to a black tie event and then sleep in it. I mean and that’s kind of 3-in-1. ” -MH

 

“There’s also the Bardot dress which we’ve all been talking about as the day-to-night dress. And really, considering in terms of design like holding you in. It’s not very bra-friendly, but we designed it so some girls really won’t have to wear one, it’s kind of a built-in bra itself.” -VB

“And it doesn’t matter if you’re more well-endowed or not. We’ve shot it on a about forty-two women, all different types of women from all different backgrounds, different industries, etc. and they came in and picked whichever piece they want and styled it however they want. Three different women wore that dress, one wore it with a lace turtleneck underneath, one was a ballerina. It was just all different shapes, so we got to see how that one dress could play in many different ways and I think that’s the same, that’s the case for a lot of our pieces. I would say that my favorite piece is the Fluid Line dress, also so comfortable, it’s a long shirt dress. In the styling tool you can see it you know, open over a swimsuit, or you can see it just worn as a dress, you can also tie it around the waist and it became a skirt. It’s just, you never really want to take it off.” -MH

“The flight suit [is my essential]. My little story is that I first wore a flight suit when I went to Burning Man with my husband a couple of summers ago and the versatility of it became ever clear when, at night when it was cold, I would wear it fully buttoned up and in the day I would kind of turn it down and tie the sleeves around my waist. When we were sort of mapping out what pieces were going to be in the Essentials collection I was very for having a flight suit.” - MM

“Not necessarily like what you think of immediately when you think of a staple, but we think it’s an adult onesie—sign me up! But also again with this I’m wearing it right now with sneakers and then I’ll put on heels when I want to go to dinner and maybe dress it up!” -MH

 

ON KEEPING BASICS FROM LOOKING ANYTHING BUT:

“There’s something really fresh about stripes no matter what season it is, and I think a lot of it is how you style it up. Whether you’re wearing them with a cropped jean or vintage denim, or whether it’s with basic accessories that you have in your closet. The styling tool is really great for those kinds of ideas. We really had a lot of fun. And even crop tops over the striped long sleeved t-shirts were really fresh.” -VB

“And the thing about saying ‘just a striped shirt’ is it becomes just a striped shirt, right? Because it’s something that everyone either has, or wants, which for us is a reason to make it and the way we’re going to make it is just in the best possible way that it can be done. It was just very important for us that the t-shirt especially was so, so, so, so soft, and that we really used the best fabric.” -MH

“Also stripes go really with animal prints, so, it’s a wonderful neutral. Stripes on stripes!” -MM

 

ON WHAT’S NEXT:

“Accessories, home, kids, swimwear, shoes. I mean it’s been really hard to just narrow down. I mean we talk a lot about taking a field test on the subway and just seeing one in five people were wearing the stripes. Whether it was an accessory, whether it was men’s, women’s, children’s. So it’s just you know, being able to own that and being synonymous with the stripe is really the goal.” -VB

“But we really want to take our time and make sure that we get it right. And so womenswear is what we all know the best, it’s what we’ve all worked in. So that was definitely the right place to start. But we’ve already been getting a lot of demand in customer service for men!” -MH

 

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