February 02, 2008
"How can I add a sporty theme to cocktail dressing?" was the question Lela Rose asked herself while developing her Fall collection, which she summed up as "Susie Chapstick meets Park Avenue." The designer has been quietly exploring sportif elements for two seasons, but this time she was really ready to scrimmage, dedicating almost a third of the looksfrom a goldfinch-colored taffeta parka to a red paillette tank dress with a tank backto the active side of things. We're not talking about hoodies and sweatpants, of course; these pieces are hardly suited for a suburban soccer game, though they may be just right for the kind of social maneuvering that Rose's well-heeled clients train for.
The Park Avenue part of the show's equation is the one that Rose knows and loves best. Fall found her playing with flowers, bows, and featherswithout laying it on too thick. "I wanted to do refined cocktail with more rock-star glamour, like that of a young Jerry Hall," said Rose, referencing her fellow Texan. So, the girly scallops and lace overlays of past seasons were scrapped in favor of more sophisticated ruffles and tiers and subtle shine, which really scored.