Last week American fashion designer Lela Rose visited Charlotte as the featured speaker for the Mint Museum's Fall EnrichMINT program. Lela Rose might most notably be known for always designing the 'perfect dress'. I have found myself many a times going straight to the top of the escalator at Neiman Marcus in order to find that perfect ladylike dress for my client drawn to classic timeless style. I had the fun pleasure of sitting down with a great group of Charlotte's style and fashion media for a round table Q&A with the designer.
The day before our meeting, as I was contemplating the one or two questions I might asked Lela, I heard a catchy new Bruno Mars song over the radio. The DJ proceeded to play clips of a similar sounding song from the 1980's which lead to the discussion of artists suing other artists for "ripping off their sounds". Vanilla Ice Ice Baby, Robin Thicke Hey Hey Hey, for example anyone? I wanted to know where Lela gained her inspiration, and in particular, were there other designers in the fashion industry that inspired her, and how is the notion of looking to other designer's work looked upon by the industry as a whole? In my own personal style, the last thing I want is to be caught dead even seeing someone else wearing something I own, so I tend to not ever buy straight from the rack. On the other hand, if I learn someone has been inspired by my work, I regard that as the highest form of flattery!
I asked Lela to weigh in on the topic. Pointing out her own personal interest in gaining inspiration from vintage design she said, "as designers, we're always looking back at historical fashion... we're in vintage stores looking at vintage details, seeing the construction." She went on to share her sentiments of flattery when someone else gains inspiration from her work, noting that that "designers are all inspired by one another, other creatives and influenced by the world around them". So what did I wear to meet Lela? I knew I wanted to wear one of her designs, preferably vintage, in hopes I would impress! I borrowed a Lela Rose velvet car coat of vintage design from my very stylish friend Pam and layered it over a conglomerate of pieces from my own closet.
The coat was a hit! Lela pointed it out the second I caught her eye, exclaiming her mom would be over the moon to see the garment. Shortly thereafter I took the opportunity to meet Lela's mother, an equally lovely woman, and you could see the admiration in her eyes for her daughter's success and hard work. It was a lovely morning of great style, fashion and fun. And speaking of style, it was all I could do to take in the visual sensation of great fashion all around me. The style loving ladies of Charlotte always come out full force to this annual event, and this year was not unlike the star studded others! I found these great images on the Scoop Charlotte website, taken by Jeff Palmer. Be sure to visit Scoop Charlotte to see all the great fashion at the Lela Rose Fall EnrichMINT event, and visit the Mint Museum Auxiliary to learn about more upcoming educational style-setting community events!
I don't know either of these cute gals, but I am LOVING the floral print blouse layered under the simple but fierce J.Crew dress above left, now on sale for just $70 + an additional 25% off. Just look at all this great style. I swear Charlotte is home to the most attractive, fashionable women in the world!
Shop Lela Rose dresses here!