Dallas Designer’s Little Shop of Flowers and Homemade Baked Goods Makes the New York Press Swoon
How Lela Rose Slayed Fashion WeekBY Clifford Pugh // 02.25.20
The Lela Rose fall '20 collection includes a numbers of floral designs. (Photo by Taylor Jewell)
Lela Rose created a pop-up flower shop to showcase her fall '20 collection. (Photo by Taylor Jewell)
Lela Rose floral-themed evening wear, from left, metallic embossed matelassé side tucked gown, gold threaded fern georgette gown with turban sleeve, anthracite threaded fern threaded georgette twist-neck halter gown. (Photo by Taylor Jewell)
Lela Rose delphinium vine embroidered tulle overlay dress, black crepe trouser. (Photo by Taylor Jewell)
Lela Rose baked 500 shortbread cookies pressed with pansies and daffodils to match her fall collection. (Photo by Taylor Jewell)
Lela Rose rose silk satin hand-draped gown. (Photo by Taylor Jewell)
Lela Rose shasta and dot engineered woven jacquard dress. (Photo by Taylor Jewell)
Lela Rose botanical crepe slacks fit right in with the flower shop theme. (Photo by Taylor Jewell)
From left, Lela Rose charcoal floral embroidered coat, delphinium silk satin draped blouse, delphinium embossed trouser; camellia wool crepe floral embroidered floor-length sheath; black crepe floral embroidreed dress. (Photo by Taylor Jewell)
From left, Lela Rose botanical crepe floor-length dress with turban sleeve; botanical crepe button front dress with matching snood, botanical crepe pant, rust woven dot mohair coat. (Photo by Taylor Jewell)
(Lela Rose gold vine-embroidered tulle overlay dress, matching bralette. (Photo by Taylor Jewell)
Lela Rose black crepe belted tuxedo with delicate crystal detailing. (Photo by Taylor Jewell)
Lela Rose shasta and dot engineered woven strapless dress over knit turtleneck. (Photo by Taylor Jewell)
A little rain doesn't dampen Lela Rose's salute to everything floral at New York Fashion Week. (Photo by Taylor Jewell)
NEW YORK — At one time during my “obsessive listicle” phase, I kept a running directory of people whose name matched their profession. They included professional golfer Hubert Green, astronaut Sally Ride, poet William Wordsworth, tennis great Margaret Court, Houston Chronicle fashion writer Joy Sewing and Houston Post photographer Jerry Click.
Maybe I should revive the list, because there’s another name to add: Lela Rose.
I’ve always suspected the inventive Dallas-born fashion designer might be a closet gardner. In addition to creating fashion collections that often incorporate a floral theme, she has authored a well-received book, Pret-a-Party: Great Ideas for Good Times and Creative Entertaining, where she includes tips on how to make flowers, vegetables and other greenery an integral part of any great gathering.
So it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that instead of presenting a stuffy New York Fashion Week show, Rose created a pop-up shop reminiscent of a big-time flower market, with hundreds of roses, tulips, peonies, torch ginger and other colorful blossoms tailor made for an Instagrammable moment.
“You know, we like to do different things. I’m tired of doing shows inside. So I decided we’re going to do a pop-up shop with a whole week’s long of events, where we’re literally doing cake decorating with flowers,” Rose explained.
Delighted to be attending a different kind of presentation, the fashion press mobbed the small West Village space on a gloomy February day, where they sampled shortbread cookies stamped with daffodils and pansies baked by Rose and sipped on cocktails with edible flower cubes, while models in looks from the designer’s fall ’20 collection posed for photos amid the buckets of flowers. Also attending was Rose’s mother, Deedie Rose, who flew up from Dallas for the festivities.
Naturally, the 26-piece collection included a number of delightful florals, including a multi-colored botanical patterned dress on black crepe with a matching snood, a halter gown in a threaded fern pattern, and a green delphinium silk satin one-shoulder dress with turban sleeves. Nighttime looks incorporated a more subtle floral theme in shiny embossed metallics, delicate hand-threaded florals on tulle and a goddess gown in a pink rose shade.
Among those impressed was former Neiman Marcus fashion director Ken Downing, who now serves as chief creative officer at Triple Five Group, the Canadian developer of Mall of America in Minnesota and the American Dream mall in New Jersey.
He noted that Rose always thinks outside of the box. During her previous New York Fashion week outings, she has hosted a fashion show on a schooner docked in the Hudson River, put on a full-scale dog show with dozens of lovable (and unpredictably behaved) canines to showcase her collection, and held an outdoor fashion show with a runway festooned with hundreds of yellow rose petals.
“Nothing binds Lela to the old norms of a how to show collections. There’s always something brilliant and unusual and delightful every season,” Downing said. “Besides being a great designer, she has a free-thinking mind.”
“Did you not mention my baking skills?” Rose teased.
“I don’t eat,” Downing responded. “But I did have a cookie.”