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Exclusive: How Lady Gaga Launched Designer Sally LaPointe's Career

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lady gaga sally lapointe
Lady Gaga wearing clothes designed by Sallie LaPointe with Billie Joe Armstrong at a showing of 'American Idiot.'
Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

New York designer Sally LaPointe has quickly earned a reputation for sending out brain-teasting invitations every Fashion Week (a year ago, she sent out hologrammatic mirrors; this season it was minimalist cubes sporting light spectrum trickery). The thought and detail that goes into those totems reflect her overall obsession with "futurism" and science fiction.

So it's no surprise that fellow future-fetishist Lady Gaga has taken a liking to her work – she now wears LaPointe's creations on and off the stage. LaPointe admits that the accelerated level of visibility that comes with brushing shoulders with Gaga (or outfitting those shoulders) is doing publicity wonders for her burgeoning career. But she's unfettered by the fame game itself, instead focusing on outperforming her own expecations every season.

As the designer prepares to show her Spring 2012 collection tonight, she reveals the collection's inspiration board exclusively to Rolling Stone, and provides an introduction to herself to the pop video fans who already, even if unwittingly, recognize her work as synonymous with bold and forward feminine mystique.

Can you tell us about your background and entry into design?
I graduated from RISD in 2006 with a BFA in apparel design. My best friend and now business partner Sarah Adelson and I moved to NYC directly after graduation and started the company together in 2009. She handles all of the business, I handle all of the creative, and it is currently still just the two of us in the company. Creating is something that I have always done from a very young age and as long as I can remember I knew this is what I was going to be doing.

What makes your aesthetic distinct?
Modern, feminine, aggressive are the words that I use to describe my designs. I believe that the structured shapes combined with softer draping to accentuate the female body is what people have noticed is distinct about what I do.

Do you set a distinct goal for each season or do you focus on maintaining a consistent brand identity? What's the balance like?
Challenging. Each season I really try to one up myself. I never want to do something that I know how to do, or that comes easy to me. I always want to see how far I can push myself. However, maintaining the balance between this and continuing your brand identity is extremely important. It's a lot about paying attention to areas that are working and ones that are not, learning from it, moving forward and never getting too comfortable.

How did you begin working with Lady Gaga?
Her stylist Nicola Formichetti took a liking to the collection and began dressing her in our garments.  

You've become known as one of her principal designers -- what custom costume projects have you worked on with her?
I designed a dress for her Judas video, a small personal collection of 'Power Suits" for her, a performance piece for her Robin Hood Charity Event, as well as a jacket for her appearance on one of Oprah's last shows. It is very rewarding doing these projects for her. they will give me some key words, and I can pretty much run with the idea as far as I'd like. It's pretty freeing actually.

Have you noticed a sharp increase in your line's media profile and sales ever since?
Yes, and it continues. It's amazing having a celebrity of her stature stand behind what I do.

Do you have any upcoming collaborations with other artists?
No, not as of right now. This is something that I am very excited to eventually do, but I feel strongly it has to be the right fit, and the right time. Maybe soon.

What is on your iPod heading into NYFW?
The soundtrack for my show by MRWILSONDJ, to get me pumped up. And Paul Simon, to keep me grounded.

Any albums or concerts you loved or are looking forward to this year?
I got to see Paul Simon with my entire family when I traveled home recently. He is continually played over and over again in our kitchen every time I'm home, and every single holiday, birthday, and everything else you can imagine since I was a kid. It was pretty amazing to finally see him live for the first time, and with the people his music has the most sentiment with.  

Here's Rolling Stone's exclusive sneak peek at Sally LaPointe's Spring 2012 collection via her inspiration board below:

Inspiration Board

Related
Gallery: Lady Gaga's Fashion Evolution

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