Lela Rose’s fashion week presentations (and Resort presentations, and bridal presentations) can make your day. It doesn’t matter how stressed out or sleep-deprived you are; you can always expect to feel fairly revived by the good vibes, great music, delicious treats, and even better cocktails at her shows. The waiters at today’s unveiling were passing out greyhounds—i.e., grapefruit and vodka over ice—and it was the first of many puns related to the main event.
The runway was covered in artificial turf, with a low picket fence around the perimeter and a series of pedestals. It was also the first time this reviewer has ever been asked if I was “okay with dogs” before going backstage. We all had an inkling there’d be something particularly cute about this show, of course: The invitation was a blue first-place ribbon with “Roseminster Dog Show” printed in gold. The official Westminster Dog Show happened in New York tonight, as luck would have it, and as a lifelong dog lover, Rose decided to host her own version. Along with a dozen models, she cast a variety of pups—some show dogs and some who are famous, like Riley Bean, an orange Brittany with 33,000 Instagram followers.
If you’ve frequented Rose’s shows, it wasn’t a huge surprise to see beagles mingling with Dalmatian minis backstage. She’s done garden parties, boat parties, and even a “Tribeca takeover” back in June, which was essentially a parade on the streets of downtown New York. If today’s campy setup distracted from the clothes at times—a few pups were too excited to sit still, and Jenna Bush Hager and Robert Verdi were on hand to deliver witty commentary—a closer look revealed some charming touches. Rose’s fellow dog lovers won’t be able to resist the navy dress with canine cameos for buttons, and there was a black-and-ivory “man’s best friend” print illustrated with bulldogs, Yorkshire terriers, and dachshunds. On a long-sleeve silk dress with pearl smocking along the bust, it looked surprisingly elegant, sort of like toile.
Subtler nods were the coats and box-pleated dresses in multicolored “King Charles” plaids. Silhouette-wise, Rose is feeling for higher necklines, longer sleeves, and leaner, more body-conscious silhouettes, like a slim camel wool dress and a cherry-red pouf-sleeve blouse with matching high-rise trousers. That look was part of the “Non-Working Group,” announced by a model holding a giant placard (a funny riff on the categories in a dog show: working, toy, hound, non-sporting, et al). Earlier in the show, there was a “Ladies Who Lunch” group, and the finale looks were “Cocktail Companions.” Told you it was campy! Rose’s customer will shop from all of those groups, but the best-in-show award goes to the knife-pleated midi dresses and column gowns with peaked pearl edges; they were at once vintage and modern.