Lela Rose themed her Spring 2012 collection “Neon Graveyard” in reference to the Las Vegas museum showcasing decaying, worn-out signs that once illuminated Coney Island and the Las Vegas Strip. The designer’s classic, sophisticated aesthetic is as much a hallmark of Americana as Coney Island. While the latter is still light-hearted and fresh like Lela Rose’s signature style, it is tinged with nostalgia, overlaid by a sentiment of gradual decay, like a place past its days of splendor, but whose good-natured playfulness will perpetually remain.
In honor of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, John Lennon’s “Imagine” played in the darkness before the show began, giving way to the upbeat “Pumped Up Kicks” by Foster the People. Tangerine, orange, and muted neon- yellow accents stood out on silk tees, dresses, slouch pants, and a drawstring skirt against a gray and peach palette. Colors became bolder as the show continued, like light emerging from darkness and decay. Sheath dresses rendered in classic, well-tailored, structured silhouettes (done both in gray jacquard and in vibrant, multi-color silk faille) anchored the more whimsical pieces, including a blue striped optic silk bustier and a sheer nude-colored polka-dotted dress. Light bulb lace, tulle, and metallic evening gowns added to the timeless grace, romance, and spontaneity of the overall picture. The imaginative splashes of color, “carnival prints,” and sensible wearability of the designs in conjunction with the classic femininity and the Neon Graveyard theme is not unlike America and New York City recovering from the ruins of 9/11, proving that the show, like time, does go on.
I was excited to spot Mandy Moore looking dapper in orange in the front row. It turned out to be quite a star-studded show, with Mariska Hargitay, Susan Sarandon, and Brad Goreski also in attendance.
– Jessica J. Tsai
Photos: Stevyn Llewellyn