Fashion is all about Gracious Living & Stylish Entertaining™ and Lela Rose is the ultimate fashionista. Her line exudes sophistication and is aesthetically beautiful while placing an emphasis on wearable clothing for real women. Lela, who I'm so honored to call my dear friend, took some time out of her extremely busy schedule to talk with me and answer some questions about fashion, inspirations, and life as a designer. Enjoy!
1. Where do you find your design inspiration?
LR: I find inspiration from a myriad of places. I bike everywhere in NYC and each day is an adventure filled with new sights (even after living here for 20 years). Also, I love to see new colors and shapes through works of art. All different disciplines of art serve as a constant well of inspiration.
2. Does your work reflect your personal fashion choices? Please describe your own personal style.
LR: I am a Lela Rose customer through and through and abide by my one zip philosophy. We do so many dresses as they are the easiest way to get dressed and look polished every day.
3. What is the best perk in being a designer?
LR: I feel like I am at an arts & crafts camp daily and I get to work with the most amazingly beautiful fabrics and materials.
4. What do you wish people on the outside understood about working in the fashion industry?
LR: I absolutely adore the hand craft involved in many of our details and embroideries. I wish more people were able to see that beauty and talent up close.
5. What would you say is the most challenging aspect of your job?
LR: Being a creative person and having to actually run a business.
6. What do you enjoy most about designing clothes?
LR: I love working on the fabrics and the subtle details that go into the clothing. Receiving the rolls of fabrics that I designed months prior is like Christmas every time.
7. What is your philosophy on the ART of fashion?
LR: I believe that fashion exists to make a woman feel confident and beautiful and if it does not do that, then it is not worth wearing.
8. Do you find that your eye for fashion inspires your eye for entertaining?
LR: I will choose many fabrics because I would love to use it in some way for a party. I love to throw joyful parties full of color and I think what I design is reflected in that.
Lela Rose’s aesthetic of adding whimsy to elegance through brilliant color and handcrafted details has brought a fresh point of view to modern American fashion. Lela was raised in Texas and went to school in Colorado where nature, its surrounding landscapes, and the sublime colors it offers have long been an inspiration. Today, Lela continues to draw from these early influences as she designs clothes for the modern sophisticated women that embody a spirit of effortless elegance.
After graduating from Parson’s School of Design in 1993, she went to work with two esteemed designers, Richard Tyler and Christian Francis Roth. There she honed her love of couture fabric as well as fanatic attention to detail. In 1998, Lela’s vision and passion compelled her to create her signature collection, Lela Rose.
Built on a design philosophy of creating hand-finished clothes that exude a casual luxury and refinement, the beautiful embellished fabrics are the foundation of this innovative collection. Through intricately designed and finely detailed separates, dresses and jackets, Lela has established herself as a renowned designer. Lela’s ready-to-wear apparel under the Lela Rose label is sold in more than 75 specialty stores nationwide, as well as Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and internationally in Canada, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Taiwan and Japan.
In Fall 2006, Lela Rose launched the Lela Rose Wedding collection. The collection is a pairing of unconventional fabrics and techniques that are trademarks of the designer. The impeccable quality and couture sensibility of these gowns make them one of a kind. Not long after the launch, Lela Rose announced she was launching Lela Rose Bridesmaid, a partnership with the Dessy Group. Both collections can be found in over 200 bridal and bridesmaid stores nationwide as well as in Canada and in the United Kingdom.
With the success of these collections, the Lela Rose brand expanded into footwear in the Fall of 2007. Rose partnered with Payless ShoeSource to create the Lela Rose for Payless brand of fashion forward shoes at an extremely affordable price, essentially democratizing fashion. The collection can be found in Payless stores nationwide.
On November 18th, 2011, Lela made a big return to her hometown of Dallas, Texas by opening her flagship boutique at 69 Highland Park Village. The boutique showcases not only her thriving ready to wear collection but her expansion into accessories and home décor as well.As the Lela Rose brand continues to grow, one thing remains true – Rose’s vision and passion to stay true to her aesthetic.
Lela Rose Boutique69 Highland Park Village Dallas, TX 75205 (214) 599-6283 www.lelarose.com
Photography courtesy of Lela Rose and John Kernick