Lunch with Lela Rose
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).