September 06, 2008
Ask any social you see this week, and she'll concur: Survival of the fittest applies just as much to the Upper East Side of Manhattan as it does to the Serengeti Plain. Lela Rose, who makes dresses beloved by the gazelles of the former, is already well-known for embracing color and embellishment, so it wasn't such a leap for her to go tribal this season. As ever, Rose plucked wisely from her source, working elements like a tapestry embroidery or a bib of gold rings into her pretty dresses, which were cut in slubby linens or jewel-tone silks and pleated organza. Inspired by traditional head wraps, she twisted and pleated a pretty pale ikat-print chiffon cocktail dress. This was a strong outing, allowing Rose to both play to her base and explore new ground with slouchy pants and sportier elementsbuckled epaulets and a great printed-chiffon racerback tankthat kept her collection from tipping over into preciousness. A glimpse of striped knit added a kick of streetwear to the ladylike fare, too. We'd say Rose is surviving the kill-or-be-killed fashion game just fine.