Photography by Adam Cantor

Lela Rose


| Tribeca

A-line silhouettes, hand beading and lace are the backbone of Lela Rose’s ladylike label. The designer fostered a love for fashion in college, where she began making vests out of printed vintage scarves, before moving to New York City and ultimately launching her namesake collection. Now just over 15 years old, it’s the line’s soft femininity and extraordinary detail that truly sets it apart. As per her latest collection, the myriad of elegant floral gowns with nipped waists and draped bodices that seemed to float down the runway are sure to tug at the heartstrings of Rose devotees everywhere. Here, she sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal her little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: We don’t eat in the neighborhood that often, but we love Terroir (MAP IT, x)— great food, great atmosphere!

COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee at La Colombe (MAP IT, x) because it’s around the corner. I also use their beans at home— they’re always delicious.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: ABC Kitchen (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x)— especially when Dan Kluger was at the helm. I think Dan is a GENIUS with vegetables and I have never had anything there I didn’t love. Two must-haves are his roasted carrot and avocado salad and the caramel ice cream sundae with caramelized popcorn and chocolate sauce. It’s ridiculous!

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: My all-time favorite is a spicy margarita (Barrio Chino (MAP IT, x) makes a good one), but a more recent favorite is a Noreaster at Maysville (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). For bartenders, Jim Meehan of PDT (MAP IT, x) is my favorite. Unfortunately, he just left town for Portland, but (luckily) Jeff Bell, his second in command, is still around. He makes a great margarita and an even better Diablo— divine!

WHERE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS: I always put people on a bike and then we’ll hit several spots. I do love to swing by PDT on the early side and grab a cocktail (as well as a few Crif Dog (MAP IT, x) snacks). A new favorite restaurant is Estela (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x), which is great for dinner, followed by a stop at Morgenstern’s (MAP IT, x) for ice cream if the line isn’t too long!

BEST BRUNCH: Our version of brunch is a walk through the Union Square Greenmarket (MAP IT) where I buy way too much and then bring it home to cook.

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: Our stoop. When we get home from work, we sit on the stoop with a glass of wine and just watch people walk by.

HEALTHY STAPLE: I bring lunch to work as I hate to order in. If I don’t make it at home, I swing by the Union Square Greenmarket and find something to toss together quickly.

GUILTY PLEASURE: Ice cream at Morgenstern’s!

NY’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: Governors Island.

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The food and the constant creativity and activity.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Whenever we are doing a date night, we bike over to Brooklyn and try somewhere new. There is nothing like crossing the Williamsburg or Brooklyn Bridge at night after a great meal and good wine.

KID-FRIENDLY STAPLE: We have always taken our kids to the restaurants that we want to try so that they would grow up eating a huge variety of foods and really enjoy eating out. I would say the crowd favorite for the family is ABC Kitchen, but they like new food adventures just as much as we do.

DELIVERY GO-TO: Sushi is really the only thing we order in, usually from Takahachi (MAP IT, x). We don’t do take-out much though.

TO GET INSPIRED: Biking around town is something that really fuels creativity for me. I can stop and look at anything— from buildings and people to galleries, etc. My bike gives me the freedom to park and look at most anything as it only takes a second to stop. If I don’t end up being interested, I just hope back on and go.

CLOSET CHECK: My style is colorful: a mix of textures and patterns, and dressed. I am most comfortable in a dress or a full skirt. I love Fivestory (MAP IT, x); Claire always carries very unique pieces that you don’t see everywhere. Another favorite is Ted Muehling (MAP IT, x). It happens to be down the street from our home, but I have shopped with them for years now. I love everything he makes— from jewelry to home ware.

FOR THE KIDS: I make most of my daughter’s clothes, but I often find great shoes and sweaters at My Little Sunshine (MAP IT, x). My son is unfortunately hopeless when it comes to dressing so most of his things come from Old Navy or J.Crew. For toys, there is a great store in Tribeca that sells wooden toys and crafts called Playing Mantis (MAP IT, x). They are dedicated to not having junky plastic toys, but really cool DIY toys instead.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: My interior style is what I would call, “modern fun.” We have tables that come down from the ceiling and out of the floor, and a secret tequila nook. It is all about entertaining and fun (so much so that we are often quite late for drop-off at school in the mornings)! Moss was an all-time favorite store. It has closed now but Murray Moss, the founder, still runs a site where you can find some of his latest things. Another favorite is BDDW on Crosby Street (MAP IT, x); Their handcrafted tables, beds, and cabinets are truly an art.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: Papabubble in Nolita (*Location now closed) has the most charming handmade candies in gorgeous colors. I love to give jars to people as gifts.

BEAUTY BLACK BOOK: I go to Ted Gibson (*Location now closed) where I see Jason Backe (x) for color. I also love Glamsquad (x) for blowouts.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: I find that almost every day is an “only in NY” moment, but one of my favorite parties I ever threw was definitely something that could only have happened in the city. I threw a surprise birthday party for a friend where I hosted cocktails in the Franklin Street Subway Station (brown-bagged margaritas in mason jars) with a steel drum band that I found at the 42nd Street station. Afterwards, we all walked over to our apartment where we had a seated dinner followed by an amazing dance performance by Candis Cayne, a drag performer extraordinaire. Candis danced all through the apartment and then into the street, where cabs were stopped and everyone was watching. This was truly an “only in NYC” event— where else is all of this talent available and so easily accessible?!?! CP

Lela’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Furniture by BDDW; La Colombe; Cocktails at Maysville; Morgenstern’s ice cream. Second Row: Bridal by Lela Rose; Smoked cucumber at Estela; Inside ABC Kitchen; Lela Rose womenswear.


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