Behind the Seams: Designer Lela Rose Wants You to Dress Your Best

With Thanksgiving in just a couple days, we have an appetite for beautifully embellished fabrics and hand-finished clothes. The Thread asks Lela Rose to serve us up some insider tips on ladylike dressing.

When it comes to the dress, Lela Rose knows best, so we enlisted the Texas-bred designer to help us curate effortless holiday elegance. Get ready to discover the fine art of donning a dress, one of fashion’s most timeless pieces.

“I love a dress because it is one zip and done. From there, you can play with accessories, necklaces, knits and different shoes to add your own personal style,” says the Parson’s School of Design alum. “I love color for holiday because so many people choose to wear black; color is a great way to stand out.”

Lela Rose Metallic Jacquard Dress

There’s no exact science to selecting the perfect holiday frock, but Rose firmly believes in making your best parts “work” for you and advises selecting a new style in a shape that you love. “One of my go-to dresses is our classic sheath. I love the way it was done this season, with silk-covered jade jewels and the perfect matching shrug to go over it,” says Rose. “I’m always cold, so having sweaters that are easy to wear, but don’t cover up your dress, is a must!”

Lela Rose Embellished-Neck Sheath Dress & Silk Shrug

Since launching her namesake collection in 1998, Rose continually draws inspiration from her past and present surroundings, including her hometown of Dallas, Texas. When constructing the narrative for her fall/winter 2012 (FW12) runway collection, Rose looked to Santiago Calatrava’s Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge (pictured). The architectural details of this Dallas landmark became the inspiration for one of the key fabrics in Rose’s FW12 assortment. “The fabric shown in my favorite dress from the fall season was designed based on one of Calatrava’s bridges,” says Rose, who prefers to dress a little quirky by mixing texture and color.

Lela Rose Layered Organza Dress

If you’re looking to undertake a stylistic overhaul for the holidays and possibly into your New Year’s resolutions, Rose suggests stepping out of your comfort zone by working in a new color or print you wouldn’t normally wear. “It’s a festive time of the year, so have fun! I love the lapis blue color of this dress. It works for all different skin tones and coloring, but is new and exciting for the season,” she says. Lacy details should also be on your radar, according to Rose: “This holiday season is all about lace, from cotton guipure to silk Chantilly. Lace is really having a fashion moment right now, so it’s the perfect time to invest in a fantastic piece.” (pictured right)

Lela Rose Ruched Dress & Lace Bustier Dress

Interview by Qianna Smith | Photo credit: Lela Rose shot by Steven Pan

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