She took a step forward this week, winning the U.S. division of the International Woolmark Prize, and the $100,000 that goes with it. Her competition included Bibhu Mohapatra, Naeem Khan and Prabal Gurung.
The Woolmark contest promotes excellence in knitwear, especially using merino wool. Lagerfeld and Saint Laurent won in the 1950s.
Theallet will compete against regional winners in China, Australia, India and Europe in the international contest in February.
"I have so much respect for the work I'm doing today, for what I have learned. For me to win the Woolmark Prize, it means a lot because of the people who won before me. And there are such talented designers competing!" Theallet said.
Theallet said she's planning to have more knit looks in her next runway show in September during New York Fashion Week. The style makes her think of her roots.
"My grandfather had a factory of knitwear in the south of France. I remember the smell of the thread in the factory," she said. "This prize is for the memory of my grandfather."
The Parisian-turned-New Yorker set up her own atelier here in 2007 after working four years with Jean Paul Gaultier and 10 years with Azzedine Alaia.