Laura Vinroot Poole Interview

“I believe the path to fulfillment is in meaningful work and another person can not fulfill that for you…only you can do that for yourself.”

LAURA VINROOT POOLE (or LVP, as I call her) is a force to be reckoned with. She gets it. Not only is she one of the most beloved tastemakers in America, but Laura is also a shrewd and very savvy businesswoman. On top of that, I love that she embraces her southern roots with a sophistication that has earned her respect around the world.

As the daughter of former Charlotte mayor, Richard Vinroot, Laura is no stranger to the spotlight and over the years has learned to properly balance being a working mom and business owner with New York fashion shows and shopping trips to Paris.

She’s been featured in Domino, New York Times, Town & CountryVogue and yes, Zavvi Rodaine but I thought it was time for a more personal interview, so Laura and I have been chatting and coordinating for the past few months. We talked a little business, alot about fashion and about the importance of being authentic in every aspect of your life.

Describe the uniqueness of the CAPITOL experience.
I think it is different from the typical retail experience because we are a store that sells a well-edited collection of beautiful things by incredibly talented designers, but our focus is really on our clients, rather than things. I think this makes the store feel relaxed and accessible and warm.

In collaborating with clients, have you discovered any tried and true fashion rules that apply to everyone?
Don’t shop with friends. Build your wardrobe with a salesperson that you trust who understands the parameters of your lifestyle. A great stylist should respect that, but also push you to expand those limits to make sure you look and feel like the best version of yourself.

Are relationships with fashion designers the essential key to CAPITOL’s success?
Not really…certainly, I have very strong, long-standing relationships with a lot of designers, and in many cases, deep personal relationships, but ultimately, my business is about my clients and their lives.

CAPITOL is known for its impeccably curated selection, how do you discover new designers and/or products?
It’s just what we do every day…it’s like continuing education! Reading newspapers and magazines, following blogs, talking with friends and designers…I think it is just about listening well and being curious every day.

Does social media play a role in CAPITOL’s success?
I cautiously embrace social media. It is so important to me that everything we do is truthful and genuine (in a business that can be a little bit smoke and mirrors) and that we are always being true to my favorite adage and North Carolina’s state motto, Esse Quam Videri…To Be Rather Than To Seem. Sometimes I review a blog we are about to publish and I wish I were a little more “air-brushed” and had done a few more Pilates sessions, but it is important to me that I look like myself and I am definitely very far from air-brushed. I think that I owe it to my clients to be a real person who understands their same frustrations every morning when staring into the abyss of my closet. The crux of my job is understanding that feeling and helping to fix that for them.

You’re described as having a glamorous, laid-back southern style. Is that how you would define your personal style?
I’m a realist and I try to embrace all the parts of my life head-on…I just try to be honest and be myself. That can mean going from the office to lunch in the school cafeteria with my daughter to a Mint Museum Board Meeting to a cocktail party for a designer. I think all women can relate to the experience of having to play a multitude of roles in a day and navigating that can be tricky. I just do my best to keep it all together every day (and I often have a pair of flats and a shawl hidden in my handbag).

Every since it was unveiled in Domino, your closet has been coveted by many, but whose closet would you like to raid?
Brian Ferry and Bunny Mellon

Describe your first fashion memory.
My glamorous mother in a cadmium red one-shouldered Halston gown. I still have it in my closet, although it is a bit snug!

How has your style evolved over the years?
I work with women of all ages and I’ve noticed a trend that is not scientific but maybe it should be…I think women – from their hair and skin to their bodies to their hormones to their general situation and outlook on life seems to change in increments of about 7 years. I think it is important to adapt to all of those changes and work with them. You should rethink your makeup and hairstyle and skincare. You should revamp and reevaluate your wardrobe. You should probably revamp a few more things, as well, but the main point is to continue to be modern and fresh. Trying to look the way you did 15 years ago is not a great idea and always a losing battle. My goal is to continue to grow and evolve and change to be more like myself, now, rather than a bad version of my younger self.

Name one unforgettable place you’ve traveled to.
India is magical – spectacular and frustrating and dreamy and crazy and supremely divine. I can’t get enough of India.

Name one place you’d like to see before you die.
So many…Kyoto, the Swedish Archipelago, The Galapagos, Tunisia…but I am ultimately happiest in my dining room eating Sunday night supper with my family.

How do you create balance in your life?
Yolanda, you’re kidding, right…Balance? No – I’m not sure it is possible to be totally balanced. I just try really hard to keep it all together and I fail a lot. I try to appreciate the small successes and not terrorize myself over my many shortcomings. Owning up to the totally imperfect person that I am every day is a relief and oddly, feels a little like balance.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Listening to my daughter laughing.

One word…

What advice do you have for younger women?
Find a career that you love and excel at it. I see so many young women pursuing work as a distraction before they get married or have children. I believe that the path to fulfillment is in meaningful work and another person can not fulfill that for you…only you can do that for yourself.

Asked to write your memoirs, what would the title be?
Great Expectations.

Interviewed November 2012 by Yolanda, editor of Zavvi Rodaine.
Photo Credits: Laurey W. Glenn and Stacey Van Berkel
Personal Images used with kind permission of Laura Vinroot Poole.
© Zavvi Rodaine.com 2013. No part of this interview may be used or reproduced in any manner without the express written consent of the Editor of Zavvi Rodaine.com.

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