Launched by former Vogue editors Valerie Macaulay and Meredith Melling and Rag & Bone alum Molly Howard in 2016, La Ligne quickly became a go-to fashion staple for “cool French girl” style, but it was only ever available through e-commerce.
Now, it’s finally opening an IRL flagship, located at 996 Madison Ave. in the Mark Hotel building. The 650-square-foot space is perfectly in line (see what we did there)? with the brand, which means plenty of black-and-white stripes and Insta-friendly details.
“We wanted it to feel like a Parisian apartment—not like a retail store but like a big closet,” Howard told Observer, standing by a cushy velvet couch in the shop, which rather than showing mannequins in the window features merchandise draped on racks. “Every store on Madison has mannequins in the windows, but this felt more like more us. It’s like you hang your looks for the day on the rack.”
The co-founders worked with designer Lien Luu on the interiors. But while you’ll find plenty of references to the signature stripes and monochrome aesthetic of the collection, they’re never overwhelming. The essence of La Ligne is instead captured in little accents, like a striped chair that once sat in Howard’s dining room. It’s one of many personal belongings the co-founders have sprinkled throughout the store. “That’s my mirror in the dressing room,” Howard said with a laugh, pointing to a floor-length looking glass with wavy pink outlines.
They also enlisted La Bande, which is what they call the portrait series of female tastemakers they admire, for items like a custom antique mirror; it’s emblazoned with a Cleo Wade poem.
The shop will carry all of La Ligne’s staples, from breezy dresses to stylish T-shirts to oh-so-French sweaters. Customers can choose from the entire just-launched Spring 2019 collection, and the boutique will also offer an exclusive merchandise edit that includes an Au Naturel tote and a floral KatieLou dress.
Howard, Melling and Macaulay selected the location based on their clients. “We have a huge customer base up here,” Melling explained. “It felt right for our first store.” This, however, is only the beginning. “Downtown could be next.”