Everyone from former First Lady Michelle Obama to Gwyneth Paltrow has been seen wearing one of the timeless yet modern frocks of fashion designer Lela Rose. Sometimes in whimsical prints and always exuding elegance with sculptural silhouettes, Rose’s designs stun every season. Although she’s lived in NYC for two decades, she is still a Texas girl at heart. She spent her childhood in Dallas and vividly remembers her childhood home where there was always something fun happening. “My mother was always cooking for a dinner party or sewing her DMA gown for an upcoming gala,” she says. Rose studied fine arts in college in Colorado before moving to NYC to follow her passion for fashion design at Parson’s School of Design. Rose is an avid cyclist and pedals all over the city (often with her beloved terrier Bobbin in an attached wicker basket) on one of her many stylish bicycles, sometimes wearing one of her favorite Mi Golondrina pieces, which she also just packed for a quick trip to Guadalajara, Mexico. What does she love most about her work? “Almost everything—the fabrics, the constant creating, the family atmosphere of our team, and most of all… building something together." We caught up with the designer to find out about the best advice her mother ever gave her and her idea of perfect happiness.
What was your first creative endeavors as a child?
All of the gifts I got when I was young entailed creating something, from the Betty Crocker “Easy Bake Oven” to a hand loom for making belts, or even a raw dollhouse that I decorated in the style of the 12 rooms in the board game Clue. I always loved making things.
When did you know you would become a fashion designer?
I learned to sew in college and absolutely loved the sculptural element of working in fabric. I started a business making one-of-a-kind vests out of vintage scarves from the 1950s. I knew then that I wanted to go into fashion.
What was your first design like?
I made all of my dresses for formals in college as well as friend’s dresses. I often used bold polka dots in varying sizes. I remember a few pieces making your eyes blur from all of the pattern!
I learned to sew in college and absolutely loved the sculptural element of working in fabric. I started a business making one-of-a-kind vests out of vintage scarves from the 1950s.
What does being a Texan mean to you?
I feel so lucky to have grown up in Texas! I love the ‘go it alone’ spirit, the women were always dressed, and people just had a devil may care attitude.
What are your favorite cities in the world?
There are almost too many cities to name as favorites but to give a few: Paris (how could I not?),
Florence, and of course, New York.
Who has been the most influential woman in your life?
My mother always gave the same advice, which was “be nice, be nice, be nice.”
What’s a big moment in your personal life that helped define the woman you are today?
My mother always gave the same advice, which was “be nice, be nice, be nice.” She also embraced that in everything she did. I try and emulate that with everything that I do.
How do you balance work and family life?
I’m not sure that I do balance it well but…I am good at the things I am good at and really struggle with things I don’t like. I try and realize what those are and farm out the others.
What’s your go-to work uniform?
Something that I can bike in!
What’s a favorite quotation of yours?
Be nice, be nice, be nice.
What is your approach to style?
Wear color! ALWAYS!
What was the last great book you read?
I read a lot so this changes constantly as well. I recently loved Bad Blood, Educated, Where the Crawdads Sing, Just Mercy and many more.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A beautiful day out biking to a fabulous restaurant with my husband, kids, and Bobbin (our Norwich Terrier).
What is your favorite place to go on vacation?
We spend a lot of time at our family home in Jackson Hole. It’s the perfect place to unwind.
What do you never travel without?
My eye mask. It is essential for me to sleep, especially in hotel rooms where you never know how to turn off all of the lights from devices.
What talent would you would most like to have?
What do you value most in friends?
Someone who makes you happy and that you know is a “fox hole buddy.”
What are you most proud of?
My kids! They are pretty darn adorable (or at least I think so).
What advice do you have for young women starting their careers?
Try and find something that you love and stick with it – even when others think you shouldn’t.
What are some upcoming projects you are excited about?
Our Fall 2019 show is one of my favorite show concepts EVER!
To shop the looks worn by our Mujeres, please click here.