Lela Rose is all about occasion dressing. That doesn’t strictly mean black tie fare, though she’ll argue her dresses have a formal enough quality to make a pass. She designs for work-to-dinner, luncheons, dinner parties; in a nutshell, her lifestyle. What she’s gravitated toward personally is a sense of unfussy elegance. “Pieces that you throw on and don’t feel too buttoned-up or restricted in,” the designer said in her showroom. Her designs toe the line of polished, elegant femininity; for pre-fall, she also drew from men’s wear.

It all started with a scrap piece of glen plaid Rose has always kept but hasn’t been able to use. Her customers want flirty and romantic, so the challenge has been translating the plaid into something feminine and approachable. She delivered on some great light and airy plaid dresses in chiffon, ripstop taffeta and slipdresses with little ties — in a soft palette of pink, green, blue and lavender. A fluid gown bringing in all the colors had great motion and drawstring ties to adjust the waistline. Most modern was a wide-shouldered wrap top paired with embroidered pants; it was a cool take on less formal evening.

Elsewhere, feminine touches provided some novelty. There were little bow details running up the back of a gown or dangling as playful earrings, removable dickey collars on a shift dress, dimensional soutache embroidery on a peplum top and dress, and guipure lace inserts on the balloon sleeves of a button-down.

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