My Life In Fashion: Valerie Macaulay

Having left American ‘Vogue’ to launch her brand La Ligne, Valerie Macaulay has quickly established herself as an up-and-coming name in the fashion world – she even counts Anna Wintour among some of her loyal fans. Here, she tells us more about her personal style and inspiration, as well as her career highlights and the favourite pieces in her wardrobe…
@VALERIEMACAULAY


My first fashion memory is an early one. At only about three or four years old, I was so attached to this pink ruffle dress, which had little red rosebud flowers with purple stems on it. I wore and slept in it for a full week – I can still picture it vividly. 

I would describe my style as a mix of tailored tomboy with a touch of femininity. The first designer piece I owned was a Laura Ashley sage brocade gown with peaked short sleeves – I got it when I was about 13-years-old, and wish I still had it now…

@VALERIEMACAULAY

My style icon is definitely my mother. She’s always impeccably dressed and would put on lipstick even if she was just in jeans and a t-shirt – I try to apply that mentality to the way I dress, too. I’d also love to swap wardrobes with Carolyn Bessette Kennedy – she had all the basics down, with a style that was perfectly chic and not overly indulgent.

The one fashion rule I live by is if it doesn’t spark joy, then pass it on. It’s surprisingly effective, especially when it comes time to clean out your closet. It means you’ll feel happy every time you get dressed – which is what it’s all about, really. 

The best piece of style advice I’ve ever received is you can pull anything off, if you wear it with confidence. If you feel good about the clothes in your wardrobe, the rest will follow.

 

La Ligne was born out of my own frustrations – I just couldn’t find the pieces I wanted. My co-founder Meredith Melling and I met when we worked at Vogue – during our ten years as colleagues, we were exposed to some of the most beautiful clothes in the world, but we realised the one item we bought over and over was a simple striped tee or sweater. At the time, we didn’t see any brand which owned that style. We wanted to create pieces you can rely on season after season, which you can pair with everything from jeans to couture. Now, La Ligne is based in New York and we have two physical stores in the US, although international customers can find our designs at NET-A-PORTER

If I had to pick one career highlight, it would have to have been the fashion show we put together for Fashion’s Night Out in 2010. It was the largest show in New York City’s history, with more than 100 designers and 200 models – including Naomi Campbell and Gisele Bundchen, and all meticulously choreographed. It was an enormous undertaking and took months of prep, so when we realised nothing had gone wrong and the show was, it felt like an enormous accomplishment. 

Instagram is where I find most of my style inspiration these days. It used to come much more from magazines – especially foreign editions like Vogue Paris or The Gentlewoman, but social media has largely taken over now.

@VALERIEMACAULAY
@VALERIEMACAULAY

Some of my favourite small brands include La Veste, Matteau, Bettter, and Yenden Jewelry – to name just a few. All of them have such a unique and curated approach to design. La Veste is feminine and quirky, Matteau’s streamlined swimwear is a favourite, Bettter takes a chic approach to upcycled fashion and Yenden uses lots of raw materials and gemstones – it’s is really innovative. 

There are a few things in my wardrobe I really treasure. My cream and navy Marin sweater (from La Ligne) is my most-worn item, and I always stock up on plain white Hanes t-shirts, as they are very affordable. A dalmatian print Hermès Birkin bag, which I got from a consignment store in Soho, is definitely my most extravagant purchase. But my favourite piece has to be my Irene Danilovich cake-icing bracelets, which has my children’s names on. My husband gave them to me after the birth of each of them, so they mean a lot to me. 

 

Follow @ValerieMacaulay and @LaLigneNYC on Instagram

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