A BALANCED APPROACH
A Spotlite on Designer SALLY LAPOINTE
By Tyler Malone
Everything about Sally LaPointe is about balance, whether it be the balance in her designs between seemingly opposing elements that she manages to have coexist in perfect harmony (modern and classic, feminine and masculine, aggressive and serene, subtle and dramatic, etc.), or the balance in her business between her and her partner Sarah Adelson, or the balance in her approach which she claims attempts to marry expression and emotion.
Her ability to harbor such a disquietous equilibrium must be innate within her because she has managed to achieve and maintain this delicate balance in her designs and in her business at such a young age. She’s only 27 years old, and already owns her own label (with her business partner Sarah Adelson). And business is booming!
After just showing her third official collection at Fashion Week this month to rave reviews, it is undeniable that she is an unequivocal success. Everyone is going gaga for Ms. LaPointe, including Gaga herself. In fact, LaPointe is one of the designers Lady Gaga most often turns to when trying to find just the right look for just the right moment: she wore LaPointe in her “Judas” video, on her final performance on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and at various interviews and events.
My personal logical deduction as to why Lady Gaga loves Sally LaPointe, besides the obvious fact that she just has a knack for making exquisite clothing, is that Gaga also is constantly juxtaposing opposites, and trying to strike a balance between them. Both Lady Gaga and Sally LaPointe are women of extremes, but that extreme manifests itself in tempered equilibrium, where they find a balance between opposites in a world of binaries.
Tyler Malone: When did you realize that being a designer was the life for you? And what drew you to fashion in the first place?
Sally LaPointe: I always knew that I was going to be creating. It was just always there. It wasn’t until enrolling at RISD that I realized it was fashion that I wanted to pursue. I think it was the drama and emotion that I felt towards fashion that drove me.
TM: You’ve taken the fashion world by storm, and though you’re still a young designer, you’re a rather accomplished one–what do you attribute this success to?
SL: I would say the dynamic between my business partner and best friend Sarah Adelson. We started this together in 2009, she handles all the business, and I handle all the creative. I have the ideas, she figures out how to get the ideas done. It is an incredible balance that we have, and I really feel without both sides it would be difficult to accomplish what we have so far. Though we both bring very different aspects to the table we share common beliefs and drive. We are incredibly focused and dedicated to doing everything to the best of our abilities, and standing behind our work.
TM: Are the clothes you design similar to the clothes you personally wear or is your personal sense of style different from your design sense of style?
SL: Yes, I think my personal style shares similarities with my designs. I used the words modern, feminine, and aggressive when describing my work aesthetic.
TM: Yes, I definitely see the modern, feminine and aggressive edge to your work, but there are also some opposing trends. I think there is a lot going on in your beautiful pieces, and you seem to be working with opposites, with binaries. What would you say is the defining quality of your line?
TM: Exactly, there seems to be a balance of all sorts of binary opposites in your work, and you seem to take a balanced approach to creation as well. You say your personal style shares similarities with your designs, but I wonder who, besides yourself, do you see as your ideal or prospective client?
SL: I think that Carine Roitfeld would be an ideal client, she embodies the woman that I strive for.
TM: Speaking of ideal clients: Lady Gaga is known to be one of your biggest fans, supporters and clients. How did you come to know Lady Gaga, and how do you see the artistic relationship you’ve established with her? Is it fair to say that both of you have influenced one another?
SL: Nicola Formichetti, her stylist, saw the collection and pulled a dress for her to wear to a Polaroid Event. After that, I was asked to collaborate with her and do a group of custom pieces exclusively for her. I would be honored to think that my work has had an influence on her, she certainly has influenced me by representing and standing behind me as a young designer.
TM: What’s been your proudest moment of your career thus far?
SL: I would have to say I think it’s the state that I am in at this time. I feel very excited and proud to have just shown my third season. Having so much support from fans and the general public is incredibly humbling.
TM: Who are some of your favorite designers?
SL: I really identify with Rodarte, and the world they create with each season.
TM: How would you define fashion? What does fashion mean to you?
SL: I believe fashion is about change, re-invention, and moving forward. For me it is a lot about personal expression, and emotion. Marrying the two is what I strive to accomplish.
TM: Where do you see yourself in ten years?
SL: Hmm, this is a funny to think about…
Sally LaPointe is a fashion designer. After graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Apparel Design, LaPointe moved to New York City to launch her eponymous collection. At the age of 26 her debut collection for Spring 2011 was shown during New York Fashion Week.
Sally LaPointe interviewed by Tyler Malone
Written by Tyler Malone
Photography by Hadar Pitchon
Design by Marie Havens
Special Thanks to Mauricio Padilha & MAO PR
Sally LaPointe, In her studio, New York, NY, 2011, Photography by Hadar Pitchon