Lela Rose was at Neiman Marcus on Michigan Avenue in Chicago last week and I jumped at the chance to meet her. I saw her fall runway show last February at New York Fashion Week and loved her collection. I expected to see her gorgeous fabrics, perfectly fitted dresses and lace but I was surprised to see a few edgier pieces, and pants that I adored. The trunk show at Neiman Marcus certainly included something for every woman.
When I first arrived Lela was moving about helping customers and looking fabulous in one of her dresses, a marigold satin dress with basketweave lace detail, proving you can dress up and work at the same time! What a treat this was for the shoppers, to have the designer herself personally help them with their Lela Rose selections. I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions which she was more than happy to answer.
SCS: I think of your pieces more as evening wear and I heard you like the idea of wearing them day or night.
Lela Rose: My philosophy on dressing is based on how I dress. I need to be dressed all day and into the evening. For example this dress is in a satin fabric that can work with a sweater and chunky wooden jewelry for day and then it can work for cocktails or dinner, or it can be worn to a wedding.
SCS: I see so many styles that look like they would flatter many types and shapes of women.
Lela Rose: We like to produce colorful fashions, in different cuts, many with stretch that make them easy to wear will fits a wide range of women. I am aware that real women are wearing the clothes. They go up to a size 16.
Although I could detect a slight Texas accent, Lela Rose lives in New York. Se received a painting and sculpture degree and then went on to Parson for Fashion Design and worked for Richard Tylor. There she handled the fabrics which still and always will remain very dear to her. She told me fabrics and textures (like the amazing lace she has been showing on the runways) are really where her designs begin.
SCS: Do you actually draw and paint the designs you submit for a textile print? Like your brushy prints that are available for spring ’14?
Lela Rose: Yes some are painted! We design all of our prints.
SCS: Maybe you can answer the question of how all the designers wind up with the same colors each season? I think it has to start with the fabrics, yet designers tell me they design and choose their own fabrics.
Lela Rose: Yes, I’ll tell you how the color trends happens! Each season there is the fabric show in Paris where they show all the new fabrics and colors. Well, the textile companies are the ones who do all the research on trends and come up with a color pallet. We, the designers see these fabrics and yes we have a choice of what we want to use. But I may walk away and a few days later I’ll think … “I’m feeling sort of ‘minty green’ today!” (laughs).
SCS: Thanks. That totally explains it! I see how beautiful the cuts and the fit of your dresses are and I was wondering are you influenced by vintage?
Lela Rose: We don’t dislike vintage, but I would describe the pieces more as classic shapes, using inventive fabrics. Some are pretty and some with a little twist or edge.
SCS: I really like “the edge” in many your pieces – but I have to say love them all!
Meet Lela Rose and learn more about her classic styling in this video:
Shop for Lela Rose at Neiman Marcus Michigan Avenue in Chicago and at neimanmarcus.com.
Photos and Video: Second City Style