Lela Rose has an unmistakable penchant for producing handcrafted fabrics and embellishments that give her designs a one-of-a-kind, wearable decadence. It was hard not to fall for this Texan’s charm and passion for her craft after spending the day at her New York studio. Go behind the seams of Lela’s fall/winter 2013 collection and discover how a few bedtime fairy tales influenced her to take a mysterious yet dreamy approach to the coming season.
“We design so many fabrics, and we spend a lot of money on materials because it’s important to me,” says Lela, who worked with champagne silk-wool blends, floral organza, sheer lace and layers of tulle for this collection.
Here, Lela works on some final beading work. She says she designs for a woman with a unique, individual style who always wants to look put together.
Embroidered and beaded motifs are hallmarks of Lela’s design signature. The inspiration board for the collection is luxe, airy and captures timeless eveningwear elegance.
“When I worked for Richard Tyler, I was on the design team, but I was responsible for assembling all the fabrics for the collection,” says Lela.
During, her time working for the Australian fashion designer, Lela learned how to experiment with materials. “I would go to all the mills and see what was new for the season and put together an entire collection based on fabrics. I gained a lot of experience working with the mills and knowing what’s out there. This helped me when I started my own business. I like to get into the nitty-gritty.”
Lela has been reading the The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm to her two children, and when she told her son Grey that she needed to take the book into the studio, he could have never imagined that she would develop her fall inspiration from magical adventures inside the book. “This collection is all about magical beauty fused with a dark beauty theme,” she says.
The self-confessed Americana girlie-girl walked us through each look of the collection, so we could get an up-close and personal look at the hand-finished detailing of each garment. “Each one these embellishments were put on with a sequin and black bead, so it’s like a little polka dot. Talk about hard work,” she says with a laugh. “I also did a lot of digital prints. We photographed pieces of pink tulle, laid them on top of organza and then digitally printed it. For another look, we took a photo of a piece of lace and then blew it up a ton to create an airy illusion.”
The next time we saw Lela, she was backstage at Lincoln Center fitting a runway model with the same frothy magical dress we fell in love with at the studio. “The models who walk in my show are what I call les petits oiseaux, very bird-like. I love the bird-like girls who are tall, lanky and just float down the runway.”
This look captures and brings to life the raven-like detailing from The Complete Fairy Tales.
The finale look featured beading that Lela compared to sea urchins.
Watch Lela’s fairy tale come to life on the runway.
Photos by Craig Arend @ Altamira NYC