Lela Rose loves a theme. Last season, the designer staged a street-fair fashion show complete with fruit stands and banana phone knits. For pre-fall, Rose found inspiration under the sea. The danger of choosing a concept as literal and broad as food or fish is that the clothes can verge into silly territory pretty quickly. Thanks to a mostly muted color palette, the garments this season never feel too over-the-top.

I was quite charmed by the open-weave knit golden sweater adorned with little fish ornaments with flexible spines (a play on fishermen’s nets), and by the delicate organza dresses illustrated with abstract blue waves and orange and pink botanicals and, again, fish. But not every reference was so direct. A crushed blue plissé dress was inspired by moving water, and trousers embellished with a geometric sequin pattern are what Rose describes as her “buried treasure pants.” Like most of Rose’s collections, it’s pretty and wearable, with a touch of quirk.

Read More