The world can be a harsh, scary place. Lela Rose felt this recently while reading the Walter Isaacson biography of Elon Musk, which made her reflect on the way society “is moving at warp speed to things that are incomprehensible.” Her pre-fall collection is a salve to those feelings; it was inspired by someone who was neither harsh nor scary in the slightest: her grandmother, known as Grand-Sue.
A former Neiman Marcus model, Grand-Sue had a knack for finding four-leaf clovers and would write Rose notes like “follow your heart, and creativity, and something will inspire you.” Rose kept these letters, recently rediscovered them in a box, and used them and Grand-Sue’s penchant for pressed flowers as the basis for pre-fall.
Poplin dresses and shirts are punctuated with lace, while linen columns and jacquard knit dresses resemble botanical rubbings. The nipped waists, off-the-shoulder necklines, seamed midi dresses with high necklines, and full skirts recall the era in which Grand-Sue worked as a model. “She would always be dressed,” Rose said. “She was never overly formal, but she was classic and elegant and she had this otherworldly quality about her.”
Rose’s medium is formalwear, and the showstopper of the collection is a bubblegum pink column with large, flat (you could say pressed) appliqué flowers. It feels more modern than the rest of the offering, and can be paired with a bolero with floor-length cape-sleeves. The effect of the whole season, though, is nostalgic—whether or not you know the backstory.