The BFF-Made Bag & Tee Line To Know Now

There are many stock phrases about work being "like a relationship." In the case of new bag and T-shirt label Jolie Laide, however, work is a relationship. It's the joint effort of lifelong best friends and fashion power players Andrea Linett and Anne Johnston Albert. And, though the line is new, both women bring their fair share of experience to the collection. The perfect basics — an everyday bag that fits all you'll need for 9-to-5, and two slouchy tees in black and white — have the benefit of Linett's time as creative director at both Lucky and eBay fashion as well as Anne's aesthetic, which she brings from designing the label Martin and from years as a creative director herself.
But, don't think that just because the ladies both tote enough industry prestige to warrant anything they produce being labeled "perfect" that this is an inaccessible crop of wares. Au contraire! The ethos of Jolie Laide happily rejects that. You see, the most important aspect of the just-launched line is that it's polished enough to wear any and everywhere but cool enough to look just a little rough around the edges. If that's not us (and you, too!) we don't know what is. Click through for an up-close and personal interview about how to make it in the biz, and for a look at our new favorite staples.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
You've known each other a long time! Tell us your friendship story.
Andrea Linett: "We met at 14 in 10th grade art class. Anne was the new girl and was shy and super-pretty and I knew she had what it takes to be a model. I struck up a conversation and soon took her to the Hamptons with my family and somehow figured out how to get her to go-sees. We were inseparable all through high school (they called us Fric and Frac although I'm not sure who was whom). We read a lot of magazines (Mademoiselle was our favorite) and did a lot of fake photo shoots. Anne modeled for Seventeen and then moved to Milan after high school."
Anne Johnston Albert: "I grew up in Central America and didn't even know who Mick Jagger was when I moved to the U.S. — Andrea showed me all there was to know, she had worldly references and was super resourceful for a teenager in New Jersey. She has always been totally plugged-in and ahead of everybody else."

Describe your professional relationship and how you balance each other out.
AL: "Anne is very creative and has what it takes to design technically. I know what I want to make but maybe I'm more practical and think in terms of marketing. Somehow it works."
AJA: "We both are task-oriented which is good for work, we make things happen. Andrea is like a muse for me — she is always changing, finding, and trying new things or referencing older ideas. When I have a design that's not working I bring it to Andrea without telling her what it's supposed to be and she customizes, plays with it, or puts it on in her own way to make it happen — it's design by wearing. I'm always amazed how she can wear ANYTHING and figure out clothes to make them interesting."

What are some lessons you've taken from past professions into this new project together?
AL: "The good thing is that this is all ours and we can do whatever we want, which is making what we feel is right and only things we would wear. We're not questioning it."
AJA: "There are no cool-girl collections here. When I designed Martin I realized how hungry women where for it — and of all ages. I didn't have the business infrastructure or backing behind me to succeed and I know how important that is. I always dream of someone like Mickey Drexler taking that part over and letting me do the rest because I know exactly what women like myself want to wear — and there isn't a line that has it all there, in one place for them."
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
How do you balance work/home life? Is there such a thing?
AL: "To me, work is life. I find inspiration in everything. And, my husband is a photographer, so I’m lucky to be able to collaborate with him. And then, there’s my best friend, Anne, to collaborate with, too!"
AJA: "I love working and thinking about things through a longer process. The fact that I have a family and a non-city life most of the time allows me to figure out how to keep my style and create things to wear in both stylish and non-stylish situations — when something works for everything it's a hit in my book... My girls like knowing about my work and seeing me work, as well. They're inspired by it."

Describe the ethos of your collection.
AL: "We have just never been into the obsession with perfection. We've always felt cooler and prettier when something is a bit off (like when coming right off the beach with sandy, salty hair). You'd never catch either one of us rushing to get a blowout."
AJA: "Yes, there is nothing that ruins a look more than when all is just right; there has to be an undone element — something that throws you, but works. I love understated things... There is the idea these days that all bags need a lot of hardware and branding, and I know there is a whole market of women like me and Andrea that really find that sort of thing unappealing."

Jolie Laide bag, $325, available at Jolie Laide.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
What is the process of starting your own line?
AL: "We just started with an idea and went from there. It was pretty organic."
AJA: "I have been wanting to start designing again and Andrea has always been a designer in a sense. We thought we would start with a few things and not worry about hitting the market dates or a full line for now — but that is the goal."

What is one professional hurdle you didn't see coming and how did you overcome it?
AJA: "In the past, I was not able to roll out full collections in time for the markets and when buyers had money to spend — I didn't have the cash flow — so I started selling online and direct to customers. It has its drawbacks but it allowed me to continue producing because it was money I could pay to make new designs, but not all at once. Now, everybody has e-commerce."

What's one thing you hope to accomplish in the next year? Five years?
AL: "We just want some brand recognition and have women be into what we're doing. In five years, we hope to have a full-blown line".
AJA: "I second that!"

Jolie Laide, The Tee, in black, $125, available at Jolie Laide.
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Photographed by Lauren Perlstein.
Who are some of your favorite contemporary designers and indie brands?
AL: "We both love Ann Demeulemeester, Martin Margiela, Dries van Noten, Alasdair, Maria Cornejo, Rick Owens, Loup Charmant — lines that aren't perfect and conventional."
AJA: "They aren't conventional but they are classic. All the pieces I have from these designers I wear for years, constantly, and they never look dated; they don't try to hit the trends, they just do what they do and that's what they are known for."

What would you cite as your sources of inspiration?
AL: "People with great style who don't follow rules — Bob Dylan, Jane Birkin, Uschi Obermaier, cool women on the street — there are so many."
AJA: "Everyday people: I love to look at how different women put themselves together. I even have a daughter who pulls off things I would never think of, I am always analyzing why that's working for her and would it for me."

Favorite songs you're currently playing on repeat? YouTube videos? Websites, you visit every day?
AL: "I listen to old stuff mostly. Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, classic disco, and '70s on 7 on Sirius XM. I look at blogs like lacooletchic, and theyallhateus and I get lost on Pinterest a lot."
AJA: "I listen to everything old and new; my husband plays tons of music constantly. I love danceable stuff like Janelle Monae these days, and Girl Talk is genius — he samples from everything. I love watching old SNL skits, but that has nothing to do with fashion — maybe the laughs help inspiration? The only site I really check is [Andrea's]"

Which celebrity or fictional character would most likely be spotted wearing your line?
"Diane Keaton as Annie Hall, Jane Birkin, and Linda McCartney."

Jolie Laide, The Tee, in white, $125, available at Jolie Laide.