Lela Rose Sets Up Shop in Dallas

The New York-based designer opted to return to her hometown to open her first boutique, which will be located in Highland Park Village.

Friday’s opening in Dallas of the first Lela Rose boutique was a bit of a homecoming for the designer.

This story first appeared in the November 23, 2011 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

She and her company’s president, Karen Scheck, touched down in Texas last week to greet shoppers in her new Highland Park Village shop. Rose welcomed more than a few familiar faces, since she was raised in the historic neighborhood and she spent many afternoons at the outdoor shopping center.

“The Village has been home to many famed brands. To be a part of this rich history is beyond a dream come true,” she said. “I grew up seeing movies at the venerable old theater, roaming the aisles at the Woolworth five-and-dime, and doing some back-to-school shopping at Harold’s,” she said.

The 600-square-foot store joins such luxury tenants as Chanel, Hermès, Stella McCartney, Carolina Herrera, Christian Louboutin, Diane von Furstenberg and Tory Burch. “For us, it was a little less intimidating to be opening [among such top designer brands] in Lela’s hometown. But we were at the point where we wanted to showcase the full breadth of the collection,” Scheck said. “This is a stamp of elevation for the brand. We’re both very proud about what the company has accomplished.”

Rose’s ready-to-wear, cocktail dresses, jewelry and accessories are showcased in the space that was designed by Ashley Tripplehorn Hunt and Dee Dee Hoak of Tripplehorn Hoak Interiors and built by GC Group. In sync with her design aesthetic, there is a wall of illustrations, as well as furniture covered in signature fabrics. A supporter of the Dallas arts community, Rose will regularly display artwork from local artists. And shoppers will see for themselves that the New York-based designer is as hospitable as ever — they will be offered iced tea and home baked almond biscotti made from her own recipe.

“It’s kind of the world of Lela as only she can do,” Scheck said.

In addition to the signature collection, there is the Lela Rose Wedding collection, Lela Rose for Payless footwear and the Lela Rose Bridesmaid collection. The new store provides an opportunity to make the designer’s sportswear more well-recognized, Scheck said. Lightweight jackets that retail from $895 to $1,895, sweaters in the $395 to $695 range and necklaces that go for $295 to $595 should be top performers, she said. Rose’s customers are interested in unusual colors and textures, not basics. “They’re interested in things that are relatively casual. That’s how most women dress in their everyday lives,” Scheck said.