A growing number of brands have begun tapping local restaurants and businesses for limited collections over the last year, but both teams behind Our Lady of Rocco say the men’s wear was a long time coming with the early pandemic supplying the extra time needed to get the idea off the ground.
Launching today, Our Lady of Rocco is a collaborative effort between La Ligne, the New York City-based women’s wear brand, and Mario Carbone, the famed chef and restaurateur, who told WWD he has been thinking about this collection for years. In fact, much of the inspiration for the collection came from the way men dressed in his early life growing up in New York City.
While the La Ligne team, Molly Howard, Valerie Macaulay and Meredith Melling, the brand’s cofounders, brought decades of experience in apparel, Our Lady of Rocco is not simply a limited-time collaboration for the brand and required aspects of both businesses to bring a new company to life. Melling joked that the brand was a sort of “ghost company,” borrowing a term from the restaurant industry meaning no new company was traditionally formed but rather uses parts of companies that already exist.
The 19-piece men’s wear line is designed to mirror a full run of a Catholic high school uniform from everyday apparel to athletic extras. But moreover, Carbone explained, the brand is a story.
“It has a certain 1980s Italian American feel that I associate with the ‘members only’ apparel I remember my dad and uncles wearing back in the day,” Carbone said. “But the idea for this ambitious partnership is to reach a younger generation of men who are looking for a sense of formality that is simultaneously contemporary, comfortable and classic.”
Key styles include a navy velour sweatsuit, a track set that features a nylon shell jacket and pants with contrast piping and a fresh take on the ‘leisure suit.’ The color palette is the same as his restaurants so that guests can blend in seamlessly while dining while carrying La Ligne’s ethos of easy-to-wear classics that serve to complement the La Ligne woman’s man. This idea is especially clear in the collection’s team starter jacket, which gives the option for personalized name embroidery. Carbone told WWD he hopes to see wives and girlfriends wearing this jacket — reminiscent of girls wearing a high school boyfriend’s letterman jacket.
Molly Howard, cofounder of La Ligne and longtime friend of Carbone, said detail was very important to get right for everyone involved, from custom antique brass hardware to branded cameo snaps.
“After launching our men’s Marin sweater in May, we are thrilled to now offer our customers a full men’s wear collection and Mario was the perfect partner for us to solidify our entrance into the market with,” said Howard, Macaulay and Melling. “We share a common love of New York City, which serves as inspiration for the Our Lady of Rocco collection, and a passion for creating high-quality products our customers can enjoy.”
To launch Our Lady of Rocco, Carbone and La Ligne are offering customers the opportunity to make appointments for an immersive shopping experience at 275 Mulberry Street for a limited time. The collection will be exclusively sold at the pop-up shop and at the Our Lady of Rocco website.