Lunch with Lela Rose

Dallas fashion darling Lela Rose presents spring 2017 collection to chosen few

Lela Rose presents spring 2017 collection to chosen few

Lela Rose spring 2017 collection and models
Lela Rose, center, poses with models in her spring 2017 collection. Photo by Taylor Jewell/Courtesy of Lela Rose
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection
From left, Lela Rose coral floral poppy-embroidered organza dress, black guipure lace dress with poppy thread embroidery, and neon beach floral-embroidered organza gown. Photo by Taylor Jewell/Courtesy of Lela Rose
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection table setting
The place settings for the Lela Rose luncheon included a recipe for a "Pretty in Peach" cocktail.  Photo by Taylor Jewell/Courtesy of Lela Rose
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection
Lela Rose cotton poplin balloon sleeve blouse and lemon floral fil coupe skirt, and mint corded lace ruffle edge dress with collar. Photo by Taylor Jewell/Courtesy of Lela Rose
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection
Back detail of neon peach floral-embroidered gown. Photo by Taylor Jewell/Courtesy of Lela Rose
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection look 10
Lela Rose canary silk shirtwaist dress with corded lace edge. Available at LelaRose.com or at the Dallas flagship store. Photo by Joe Schildhorn/BFA.COM
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection
From left, Lela Rose geometric fil coupe arch flared dress, cotton poplin ballon sleeve blouse, and canary silk shirtwaist dress. Photo by Taylor Jewell/Courtesy of Lela Rose
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection look 6
Lela Rose peach grosgrain dress with folded fringe detail. Photo by Joe Schildhorn/BFA.COM
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection matches
The Rose motto: Eat Drink Dress Lela. Photo by Taylor Jewell/Courtesy of Lela Rose
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection look 14
Lela Rose checked stretch jacquard off-the-shoulder top and matching pant. Photo by Joe Schildhorn/BFA.COM
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection look 2
Lela Rose luminous orange tube knit and geometric fil coupe pant. Photo by Joe Schildhorn/BFA.COM
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection and models
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection table setting
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection look 10
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection look 6
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection matches
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection look 14
Lela Rose spring 2017 collection look 2

With the fashion world in disarray, designers were trying to decide the best way to how their latest looks at New York Fashion Week. Bigger remains better for some designers, as Tommy Hilfiger created an entire carnival on a South Street Seaport Pier to showcase his "buy it now" collection, while Marc Jacobs decked out the Hammerstein Ballroom in hundreds of light bulbs for his controversial show, which featured mostly white models in rainbow-colored dreadlocks.

But an increasing number of designers believe smaller is the way to go. They hosted shows in intimate surroundings, with a small number of fashion reporters and bloggers to create a different kind of buzz.

Dallas native Lela Rose was among the designers to think outside the box. She took over the chic SoHo restaurant Café Altro Paradiso, one of her favorites, and invited only around 100 of the fashions faithful to see her spring 2017 collection up close over a lunch of kale salad, sharable charcuterie, and "Pretty in Peach" cocktails, with a take-home recipe card bearing Rose's words of wisdom: "Nothing says chic like matching your drink to your dress."

She also made take-home biscotti and hand-embroidered napkins that were so pretty some attendees stuffed one or two in their purses as they left.

"I love this restaurant, and I thought it was just a perfect way to do a great seated luncheon with salon-style presentation, to make it chic and give you some time to calm down," Rose explained afterwards.  "I think it's no longer about the bright lights and the loud music of a runway show. It's now about having a serene atmosphere here and doing it that way."

The colorful collection was as bright as Rose's sunny outlook, with dresses and tube knit tops in luminous orange, a jumpsuit and gown in a floral poppy print, a peach dress with folded fringe detail, and a beautiful sheer gown with dozens of embroidered neon peach flower appliques on the bodice and back.

Off-the-shoulder looks — a black lace dress and checked stretch jacquard top and matching pant — had a retro modern vibe, as did her take on gingham (one of her favorite prints), reflected in a three-tone gingham-wrap shoulder dress with cutouts, and a pleated shirtdress in black and teal gingham.

Though most of the collection won't be in stores until spring, Rose is immediately offering two looks online or at her flagship boutique in Dallas's Highland Park Village, including the gingham shirtdress, which retails for $1,495, and a canary silk shirtwaist dress with corded lace edge ($1,595).