Candid with Valerie Macaulay
Valerie Macaulay launched La Ligne with co-founders Molly Howard and Meredith Melling a little more than three years ago. Her career is built on stints at Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue, followed by a few years running a creative consultancy with Melling. The two joined Howard to create a direct-to-consumer brand worthy of all closets. Taking a stand behind the universal appeal of the stripe—always classic, forever chic—they ensure that their line remains grounded in a democratic, versatile design. If you can’t eat, drink, dance and sleep in it, they won’t make it!
Valerie is co-founder and chief creative officer of La Ligne, with her home base in New York City.
My personal style is tailored tomboy. I prefer classic, timeless pieces a little borrowed from the boys but always feminine.
The best piece of fashion armor in my closet is my La Ligne Marin sweater. It is like a giant hug. It’s oversized and comfortable but never sloppy, and it goes with absolutely everything.
I’m making my mark by co-founding a business with two other women I admire to make clothes for women and hopefully inspire other women. I was lucky enough to work at a company like Vogue and have the mentors I had, and learn from the best women (and men) in the industry. I hope to pay that forward.
A professional/personal challenge that keeps me up at night is how to keep growing the business and determining the right next steps. You don’t want to grow too fast, but you have to keep up the momentum, and that is a delicate balance. I want to make sure we are taking risks but maintaining our core values as a company.
In moments of self-doubt, I build myself back up by telling myself that even if I fail, I tried to do something, and I am proud of that. And if I fail, I will try something else.
Words of wisdom that resonate with me are, “Always take the meeting,” and “Always look ahead.” It exemplifies an attitude of always keeping an open mind and allowing yourself to entertain different ideas even if you have a set course in mind. Things are constantly evolving, so you should be willing to change and adapt.
I stay true to my passions by living a balanced life. I am also a wife, mother, daughter and friend, and all of those aspects of my life get their own time, which makes me a better business partner and creative director.
I’m most proud of building a business with two amazing women—that we were courageous enough to try and formidable enough to keep at it. Nothing about this has been easy, but it has been one of the most fulfilling chapters in my life to witness ideas become realities.
The one thing I would like to say to every woman in the world is to embrace failure. It’s the only way you learn about where you want to go and what you need to do to get there.
Laura Katherine Sawyier is a personal stylist and a consultant for fashion and consumer brands. She is based in St. Louis and New York City. To find out more, visit lksawyier.com.