Text | Kevin Conley
Photographs | Jonathan Becker
At the age of 20 she left St. Lucia for Manhattan with a playful style, a high school diploma, and a smile straight out of the winner's circle. Now, 12 years later, she's rewriting the rules of fashion society and the art world.
Few people outside the carousel of fashion shows, art fairs, gallery openings, and museum-gala afterparties can even place the name of Shala Monroque (pronounced "Mawn-ruck"), let alone measure the impact that the street-style gamine has had on the glittering demimonde of fashion and art. But fashion insiders are extravagant in their praise. Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters who started the Rodarte label, call her style effortless "in the way that all great fashion icons seem to just have thrown on whatever was lying about." Sabrina Marshall, an editor at the French fashion monthly L'Officiel, raves about Monroque's original thinking. "Vintage shipping with Shala in Paris is such a treat", Marshall says. "I watch her find incredible pieces that no one else pays attention to, and then Shala styles them her special way." Miuccia Prada will say nothing about her on the record -- the designer prefers to maintain an oracular silence in the press -- but she has turned Monroque from a customer into a walking advertisement for her own cozy-luxe wearable-genius look. It's hard to imagine a better fit.
Pick up a copy of Town & Country's January 2012 issue to see more photos
and read the complete story.