LELA’S ALL-NIGHT BAKERY: In the specter of entertaining, Lela Rose is an overachiever — so why would preparations for her presentation Monday afternoon have been any different?
Apparently, designing a 26-piece collection and opening a pop-up flower store were not enough for the New York designer. She also volunteered her baking skills to ensure that guests got a sampling of her homemade cookies with hand-pressed flowers. Her schedule last week basically amounted to a second job. After a full day’s work, she came home every night to bake for a solid three hours, usually from 9 p.m. until midnight. That drill intensified Saturday with five hours in the kitchen and then nearly a full day at the stove Sunday. “My feet were killing me. I went from fitting the clothes to making the cookies,” Rose said.
Guests stood shoulder-to-shoulder in the Greenwich Avenue shop trying to get a glimpse of the models wearing designs inspired by the Chelsea flower markets. Amidst the forsythia and racks of looks such as a silk satin one-shoulder dress with a turban sleeve and a botanical crepe open-neck dress with delicate crystal details, a table laden with plates of delicate-looking cookies anchored the room.
“I have been making the dough, freezing it, ordering all these flowers from California and I also made that cookie stand with the birds on it. “‘Did you see the birds in the ‘birds of a feather’ print?’” Rose asked a guest. “There is someone wearing it, and do you notice my bird cookie stand that I made?”
All told, the designer probably made 500 cookies. I wanted to pick the colors so I figured out how you glue them on there with corn syrup. But then I decided that was stupid,” Rose said. “Aren’t they gorgeous, really? I love them.”
Rose kidded that she didn’t care if people looked at the clothes, as long as they saw the cookies. (Most of the guests appeared to be more interested in the collection, although some admired, photographed and grazed near her confections.)
Four years after Rose wrote and published a Rizzoli book that highlighted her hospitality skills “Pret-a-Party: Great Ideas for Good Times and Creative Entertaining,” she is mulling over a second one. Her mother Deedie flew in from Texas for Monday’s festivities, but she arrived too late Sunday night for any of the pre-presentation dough-rolling. “This is who I learned to cook from — this woman — and actually entertain from,” Rose said lovingly. “She was psychotic — not as psychotic as I am, but close enough.”