If you work in fashion, maybe even if you don’t, you were hard pressed to find a news outlet not talking about the new womenswear brand, La Ligne last week. The direct-to-consumer venture comes from Meredith Melling, Valerie Boster, and Molly Howard. Melling and Boster combined have two decades worth of time spent at Vogue before leaving and launching La Marque, a brand consultancy firm together a few years ago, where they met Howard, former head of Business Development at Rag & Bone. When I read about the launch of La Ligne (which mean the line in French), I was shocked to hear about yet another new brand, especially one founded based on a shared love of stripes.
The brand isn’t going to hurt in the press department, they have secured $2 million in first round funding, and Andrew Rosen, Leandra Medine, Neil Blumenthal, among others, are advising the brand. Those very big obstacles new designers face from the outset are eliminated, so in my opinion, the clothes had to be major, like so major. Despite my hesitation about another new brand, I was very intrigued because if anyone knows what women want, it’s probably these women. I decided to place an order and see for myself if there was substance behind all the hype.
Here is my experience:
Tuesday, April 5th also known as La Ligne Launch Day: I ordered the Jour et Nuit Dress, Coquette Top, and the Fine Line Top. I placed my order at 1pm and was hoping for Same Day Delivery, but orders had to be placed by noon. Same for Overnight Delivery, but I chose anyway, because I knew the brand was based in New York City, and Fedex does multiple pick ups a day. They also offer Free Ground Shipping, but due to timeliness of this story, I wanted it asap.
Thursday, April 7th: At noon, I sent an email to their customer service because I had not received a shipping notification for my items. Lou from La Ligne responded within ten minutes apologizing saying there was a mishap with their courier and it would arrive by 6pm. It did not. Lou said give until 8pm. Still nothing.
Friday, April 8th: Lou followed up about my package and seemed surprised when I told her it did not arrive. Two hours later she emailed telling me they were having major issues with Fedex and finally sent a tracking number which I could access within 24 hours. At this time she also refunded my $30 shipping fee. Lou emailed again later in the day saying my package would arrive Saturday. It did.
Lou was very professional and did everything right. But I was disappointed in the experience. I understand this isn’t a huge deal really, in the grand scheme of life itself, but it was a little experiment in image vs experience. La Ligne had loads of press, a beautiful website, Lily Aldridge and Joan Smalls modeling the collection, investor money, but on launch day they clearly did not have it together operationally. I’m not even sure Lou knew where my package was or who was delivering it the first couple of days. Obviously I didn’t expect Meredith to schlep my package personally, but another new designer on the scene might of. Perhaps, perhaps, my experience was one of its kind, but who knows.
Now for the clothes, by time my package arrived I expected even more than I did before the delivery mishap from the brand with built-in Vogue support and…I was very happy with what I received. I purposely did not order pants because none of their current offerings really appeal to me (a woman with hips and a butt). The Jour et Nuit Dress is flattering and lovely. The fabric is soft and silky without feeling too fancy. The Fine Line top is a sweater knit, but I would be shocked it if ever permanently stretched out, it’s that resilient. The Coquette Top is the same fabric, with a lining, as the dress, used a tad differently. It’s off the shoulder and very cute. It’s not exactly my style, but I wanted to try it anyway.
All in all, my personal assessment of the clothes is quite positive and if my instincts remain true, La Ligne will be a successful brand as long as they get their messengers/couriers/Fedex issues sorted out.
Image via La Ligne