Lela Rose

Meet the people who are shaping the Dallas fashion scene.

“That “steel magnolia” strength and grit is something I have always admired in Dallas women, and it comes through in their style and independence.”–Lela Rose
photography by Larry Travis

Occupation: Fashion designer
Hometown: Dallas
Current residence: New York City

How do Dallas women influence your designs? A strong sense of color and never too much black.

How would you describe your fall ’06 collection? The fall 2006 collection was inspired tonally by an old family photo album. The album was filled with warp prints, sepia tones, and bore the warm patina of slight photo decay, so the colors in the collection are concentrated in bark, navy, ivory, or slight mineral colors with mica, coppers, and pyrite.

Dallas is fashionable because … the women there have always marched to the beat of their own drum. That “steel magnolia” strength and grit is something I have always admired in Dallas women, and it comes through in their style and independence.

What did you learn about fashion from your mother? My mother taught me to sew. She was and is so adventurous, creative, and fun with the way she dresses. I remember her painting quail and chicken eggs to sew onto a dress she made for the New Beginnings Ball at the DMA upon completion of the Hammond Wing. I will never forget that dress or the top I made for her from vintage hand towels.

Vintage hand towels? She had found these great white with red check hand towels, with beautiful thick guipure embroidery. Of course, when she bought them, she had already figured out exactly what she wanted done with them. I made her a top for a black-tie event where she thought it was quite irreverent to wear vintage hand towels. I know it’s hard to visualize, but it was actually quite chic and definitely different. I am sure she still has the top.

What’s the most important thing you learned from Richard Tyler (with whom Rose worked after graduating from Parsons)? Perfection. He would not stop until he had achieved it.

What one piece from your fall collection is a must-have item for yourself? An ivory llama wool lantern-sleeve coat.

What one piece from someone else’s collection do you covet for fall? Anything from Balenciaga. Preferably one of the riding jackets and full skirts in matching plaid.

Which celebrity or pop culture figure best represents your style aesthetic? Reese Witherspoon! Reese Witherspoon! Reese Witherspoon!

Favorite spots to visit while in Dallas: Uncommon Market for odd table decorations. The Farmers Market in the summer for all the Texas fruit and vegetables and to pick up some cream peas. Uncle Julio’s for grilled quail. The Mozzarella Company for queso fresco, which is practically unheard of in New York City.

Oh, come now, when will you move back to town? Oh goodness. This is going to get me into trouble. My mother and I have made an art out of avoiding this question. I plead the fifth!


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