Essential Women: Valerie Macaulay, Meredith Melling & Molly Howard

Valerie Macaulay, Meredith Melling & Molly Howard

Co-Founders of La Ligne

Valerie Macaulay, Meredith Melling & Molly Howard

Co-Founders of La Ligne
Former American Vogue editors, Valerie Macaulay and Meredith Melling, and rag & bone’s former head of business development, Molly Howard, joined fashion forces to create La Ligne. Inspired by the iconic stripe, La Ligne (“The Line” in French) is a like-minded, direct-to-consumer brand that shares our love of timeless essentials, luxury materials, accessibility, and of course, celebrating women in (and out of) business. Their design influence pays homage to the European attitude and iconic musings of Francoise Hardy, Jane Birkin, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot. Who wouldn’t be charmed?
There are so few people who act on an idea or dream, and I am proud that I had the courage to take that on.
Our recent partnership saw the launch of a capsule of beautifully crafted pieces for the modern, traveling woman, and as a company defined by its business-savvy female founders, we were inspired to share their story. It came as no surprise that these essential women were as dynamic as they were chic—best friends, devoted daughters, new mothers, business strategists, industry trailblazers.
Last month, Cuyana founders Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah met with team La Ligne amid the busy days of New York Fashion Week. They spent the afternoon shooting and exchanging notes at Molly Howard’s downtown apartment, appropriately situated just two blocks from La Ligne’s Canal Street headquarters.
How is La Ligne doing it differently from the rest?
When starting La Ligne, it was important to us that all of our pieces were truly versatile, timeless and wearable from season to season. There are pieces from the collection that our customers wear to both black tie events and to the airport. It was also important to us to found a direct-to-consumer business so we’re able to own the entire customer experience and truly engage with the women who love our clothes. It allows us to hear directly from customers and adapt quickly.
Both Cuyana and La Ligne were founded on the idea that luxury should be everyday, accessible and classic, so it felt incredibly natural to work together.
What has life as a business owner taught each of you about yourselves?

Meredith: The onset of my life as a business owner coincided with the birth of my second and third children, and has taught me that the busier I am, the more I get done.

Valerie: Courage. Everyday I am so thankful that I met the right people (Meredith and Molly) to be able to have started something and have experienced this. There are so few people who act on an idea or dream and I am proud that I had the courage to take that risk.

Molly: It’s always easier to take the less risky track—historically, I had pretty safe jobs, that, while challenging, didn’t encourage me to step out of my comfort zone as much. When I finally went all-in on starting a business, I was exposed in a way I hadn’t been before, but learned, that drove me even more. Having the support of my partners, Meredith and Valerie, made that easier, but I discovered that I thrive in unpredictable, riskier, and more uncertain environments. When you live and breath your job, your output is just better
If you could each choose one woman as your greatest influence, who would it be and why?

Valerie: My mother, hands down. She was a single mother who did not compromise on building a successful career or giving me an extraordinary childhood all the while looking chic and laughing or smiling. I hope that I can represent a quarter of that to my children.

Meredith: My grandmother on my mother’s side. She was tireless, hearty stock, and everything was possible.

Molly: My mom—she is a hero. She is the smartest woman I know and the first person I turn to for every decision, personal or otherwise. Also my best friend Tracy Dubb–our conversations over the last ten years have changed from dissecting boy’s text messages to calculating IRR together.
I discovered that I thrive in unpredictable, risky and more uncertain environments. When you live and breath your job, your output is just better.
Why was Cuyana a natural partner to create a capsule collection with?
Both Cuyana and La Ligne were founded on the idea that luxury should be everyday, accessible and classic, so it felt incredibly natural to work together. This collaboration is inspired by our travels as entrepreneurs and the places our brands take us. Pack less and wear more—that’s La Ligne x Cuyana!

How does La Ligne celebrate women?
La Ligne was built by a community of women. We have three Co-Founders and we looked to our friends and family to be our partners in building this brand. Whether it be from partnerships like La Ligne x Cuyana, to charitable collaborations with Free the Nipple and the ACLU, to joining “La Bande” and participating in our “In Line” portrait series by modeling their favorite pieces from the collection. We’ve shot over 100 women who embody the spirit of La Ligne—they’re all women we admire.