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  • Her distinctive look made her a street-style icon; now she’s a key fashion player, who is working to protect her island homeland. By EMILY CRONIN

    Photographs by FRANCOIS DISCHINGER
    Styling by TRACY TAYLOR

    When Shala Monroque arrived in New York from St. Lucia in 1999, she was like any 20-year-old émigré in search of opportunity. What she found there was fashion week – and a Jean Paul Gaultier party that made her feel as though she had truly arrived.

    “There were red feathers piled on the floor, so we [had to] wade through,” recalls Monroque, who was invited along by an aunt who was a backstage dresser. “I was enthralled by the glitz. If you’re coming from a small island and going to a party like that, then it all seems really wonderful.”

    STYLE RÉSUMÉ

    NAME: Shala Monroque

    PROFESSION: Fashion editor

    MY STYLE IS: Ladylike - I think it comes from growing up on a British colonial island. It's part of the culture to get dressed up

    MY GO-TO LABELS: I think Marni is great; it's masculine and feminine all at once

    MY FAIL-SAFE PIECES: Anything colorful - being from the Caribbean, color is all around

    Cardigan by J.Crew; skirt by KENZO; shoes by Gianvito Rossi; earrings by Marni

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