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What helped make the leap was the strength of her new product.
“People could look at Rocawear and know it was Rocawear, and then look at Rachel Roy; the sensibility is very different,” says Roopal Patel, senior fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman, one of the first stores to carry the line.
“She allows a woman to be both confident and feminine at the same time.” As charmed as the designer’s rise may seem, however, it wasn’t a straight shot.
“It may have taken a lot longer,” she admits, “but I would have figured something out.” If Roy, 32, can be so forthcoming about the early leg up, perhaps it’s because she now stands so squarely on her own.
Two years after leaving Rocawear to launch her eponymous label, Roy plans to open the first Rachel Roy boutique (in Manhattan’s increasingly trendy Tri Be Ca neighborhood), where celeb fans like Jessica Simpson and Jessica Biel will be able to browse the racks of her ultraladylike designs (think trench coats with laser-cut leather rose details and softly draped shirtdresses).
Working alongside a staff of only 11, Roy is putting in long hours finishing up her next collection and preparing to open her shop.
“Ava calls me every night to ask, ‘When are you coming home?