Since she debuted in spring 2011, New York–based designer Sally LaPointe has caused ripples with her dramatic point of view, earning fans like Bergdorf’s Linda Fargo and clients like Lady Gaga, Rita Ora, and Emily Blunt. With her business partner, Sarah Adelson, LaPointe has expanded her operations, presenting a cool, minimalist Spring 2015 collection inspired by “spring cleaning.”
BY PAIGE REDDINGER
How long did you talk about launching your own label before jumping in?
About six months. After Rhode Island School of Design, I was designing the men’s accessories for Kenneth Cole and Sarah was working for the Parigi Group. After work, we would go on really long walks along the West Side Highway for exercise and that is where we started talking.
Was it scary when you were starting out?
We were just so certain and passionate about what we wanted to do that we didn’t think about it too much. Now that I look back, I’m like, wow, I should have been really scared.
What are some of the hardest things for you; is it quality control, production?
You need to go through a lot of trial and error. Being a young designer obviously you’re up against a lot and you just need to plow your way through and get your foot in the door places. Up until about six months ago, it was just Sarah and me. A two-person team managing everything was a big challenge.
What was it like landing Bergdorf Goodman? Wasn’t Linda Fargo at your second show?
Yes, the first show she came to was Spring ’13, and she has been coming ever since. She’s incredibly lovely, too; she gives really good feedback. Sarah and I were actually in Paris after that show when we got the phone call that Bergdorf’s was going to take us. We were sitting in an outdoor café, just the two of us enjoying a beer, and it was just the best moment ever. It was amazing.
What did it feel like getting on Style.com for the first time?
That was up there with the Bergdorf victory, once you kind of get that review it helps a lot. I don’t go too in depth with reviews, you know not into the blog-y stuff, but I certainly read the feedback and I take it into consideration.
Are you still in your first studio space or have you upgraded since then?
We actually started it out of our downtown apartment, which was about 700 square feet. It was tiny, and we did that and moved into another space that was a live-work. A year ago, we moved into the space we are in now, which is kind of a first official studio. It’s in Chinatown; it’s a full floor. That’s what really made us grow and hire employees, but for a long time it was out of our apartment.
Are you guys still roommates?
No! It was time for us to get our own apartments.
A lot of your reviews say you have a Gothic edge. Do you agree with that?
I would, I mean I think that is something that I kind of naturally do, kind of like an undertone.
What designers did you admire when you were at RISD?
Growing up, I probably knew nothing about fashion; I grew up painting. At RISD I was given a project to research on John Galliano and I had never even heard his name before, embarrassingly. That was when my brain kind of switched over, I was just blown away.
Any celebs you’d love to dress?
Who do I love? I love Jennifer Connelly, and obviously we’ve dressed Lady Gaga and Katy Perry and Kim Kardashian. We just dressed Emily Blunt, which was really amazing; she was on my conquer list.
Do you find fast fashion copies flattering or discouraging?
It’s funny, a model came in for a casting the other day and she had a top on and I was like, “Oh, my God, that top is so cute,” and she was like, “Thanks, it’s Zara.” I was thinking, “Zara is going to put us all out of business, what the hell!” It’s kind of annoying that you can get fashionable items at a very low price, but that also oversaturates the market and makes my cashmere and fox sweater even more special or desirable. So I think it could kind of go both ways.
What’s your design environment like?
I have to be alone while I’m sketching, and the studio is very nice and they are very good at giving me a week or so to be by myself. I sometimes sing. I mean I love Beyoncé; I am a big Beyoncé fan.
When and where is your next vacation?
I booked my first vacation that I have taken in I think four years to the Bahamas and I leave a week after Fashion Week.