Lela Rose Launches Bridesmaid’s Collection

Retail Prices Range from $300 to $450.

Lela Rose and a model in one of Rose?s bridesmaid dresses.

Jenna Bush’s wedding was a beginning for Lela Rose.

This story first appeared in the August 12, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The designer, who dressed bridesmaids for the May nuptials at the Bush ranch in Crawford, Tex., is launching her first bridesmaid collection.

During an advertising shoot last week at Sun West in Manhattan, Rose was busy multitasking: adjusting the satin belt on a model’s dress, greeting the production team and admiring the floor-to-ceiling hand-stenciled backdrop. Photographer Gabor Jurina shot some of the 12 styles, including a crinkle chiffon dress with rosette details that is one of three looks inspired by the First Daughter’s bridesmaids’ dresses.

Instead of pastels and other typical bridesmaid hues, Rose opted for more sophisticated colors like teal, seafoam and royal. To make the collection accessible to a variety of customers, not just designer shoppers, retail prices will hover around $300 for the short dresses and will top out at $450 for full-length gowns. First-year projected wholesale volume is $4.5 million, Rose said.

For this venture, Rose signed a partnership deal with the Dessy Group, a New York-base bridesmaid and special occasion manufacturer with almost 70 years of experience. The Dessy Group had worked with Paul Roy Creative Services, which handled last week’s shoot, as well as the ad campaign for Rose’s wedding dress collection. Roy’s team provided the white, intricately stenciled backdrops, which were slightly reminiscent of Dutch designer Tord Boontje’s work.

The print ads will break in Martha Stewart and In Style magazines in December, just about the time The Unforgettable Moments by Lela Rose dyeable shoe collection will launch at Payless. Eight styles will be offered in 64 colors and orders are expected to have a 10-day turnaround time. “They will be $45 for bridesmaid and bridal shoes,” Rose said. “Could anything be better than that for her?”

Rose’s bridesmaid collection will be introduced in the U.K. next month and shown in New York and Chicago in October. The Dessy Group also makes dresses under the Dessy Collection by Vivian Diamond, After Six and Alfred Sung, which are sold in the U.S., Australia, Canada and the U.K.