Q&A with Laura Vinroot Poole
Q&A with Laura Vinroot PooleJanuary 27, 2011
I know I'm not alone when I say I love the photo of Laura Vinroot Poole that ran in our most recent garden column.
From the giant scale of the Patrick Blanc vertical garden behind her to the crazy technicolor skirt she has on, the whole thing is equal parts glamorous and laid-back, just like Vinroot Poole herself.
Recently, I asked the stylish Charlotte shop owner about the things that matter most to her. Our conversation follows below. Enjoy!
BD: Why did you decide to open Capitol in Charlotte?
LVP: I am from Charlotte and moved back for my husband to attend graduate school. I had always been struck by the fact that my mother's friends shopped for shoes in Charleston and for clothes in Atlanta and New York. I thought this was strange. We started very small and grew organically with our clients.
BD: Tell me more about what's in store at Capitol right now. What pieces are you particularly excited about at the moment?
LVP: I am excited that we have combined our two stores and that the Poole Shop (emerging designers; sort of Capitol's little sister store) is now located upstairs at Capitol. I am really proud of our vendor mix. It is unlike anything that you will find in the Southeast, and probably beyond that. We offer diverse and hard to find brands such as hand-made Sabbia Rosa lingerie from Paris, jewels from the Gem Palace in Jaipur, clothing from Azzedine Alaia, Balmain, Balenciaga, Celine, Christopher Kane, Dries Van Noten, Isabel Marant, and Rodarte. We also carry shoes and accessories, with a fantastic selection of young designers, such as LD Tuttle, Jerome Rousseau, Esquivel, and Tabitha Simmons. I love that you can buy a Diptyque candle for $60 or a full Lanvin wedding gown, veil, satin ballet slippers and a full trousseau, all in the same building.
BD: Do you have any trademark elements that you wear again and again that people might associate with your personal style? Or are you constantly changing things up?
LVP: I fell in love with jewelry through my friendships with Irene Neuwirth, Marie-Helene de Taillac and Siddarth Kasliwal. They taught me that jewelry should be worn every day and enjoyed instead of being locked up in a safe and taken out once a year. So I tend to wear crazy combinations of my high school favorites mixed with gifts from my husband mixed with The Gem Palace's brightly colored stones and cheap-ish pieces from my trips. I guess that combination of all parts of my life remind me of who I am and where I come from and make me feel more grounded. Fashion can be a little crazy.
BD: Why is fashion still important and meaningful and exciting to you after years of being in the industry?
LVP: I love meeting new people and being able to work with artists from around the world. It is never boring. Fashion will always be important. It is the way that you communicate to the world who you are and what you are all about. It is the first thing that people understand about you and it can make life so much happier and so much more inspired depending on how you indulge it.
BD: What Southern women have inspired your aesthetic along the way?
LVP: I am inspired by all of my clients, every day. My business is helping them navigate their lives. It is one thing to love a Rodarte runway show, but it is quite another to have the Mulleavy sisters design a client's Mother-of-the-Bride gown and navigate that process from drawings to zipping the client in the dress before she walks down the aisle. You really have to enjoy the ride as much as the destination.
BD: Everywhere I look, I see Southern designers wearing their "Southerness" on their sleeve. That hasn't always been the way in fashion. Why do you think Southern style is so compelling right now?
LVP: Because Southerners have the best taste! Seriously, I think the South is one of the last authentic things left. We are also very proud, very set in our ways, very dramatic, and often very creative. All good things if you want a career in fashion.
BD: You are a passionate advocate of Southern culture. What are your top three (or more) secret places to visit, eat, and explore that might surprise people?
LVP: I like to drift a little. My husband and I love to just drive and explore small towns, particularly tiny local restaurants. I love T.W. Grahams in McClellanville, South Carolina, Hap's Grill in Salisbury, North Carolina, Trolley Stop in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, and Casamento's in New Orleans.
BD: Your husband Perry is an architect. Do you see eye-to-eye on all things style? And do you think your daughter inherited the creative genes?
LVP: Gosh. My husband has the best taste of anyone I know and I hope he has influenced me even a little. I'm not sure that I've seen the creative genes at work in our daughter, but I must say that her Barbies are particularly chic.
BD: Do you have plans to open another location any time soon?
LVP: We are approached often, but I've not been tempted completely yet. I don't know that this group of collaborators exists anywhere else. The women here are so chic! Imagine a place where women wear Balmain suits to the grocery store, Rick Owens leather jackets to Pilates, and Christopher Kane flourescent lace dresses to Sunday lunch. That is Charlotte and it is gorgeous.