“Lela is the modern-day Lily,” said Robert Burke of Robert Burke Associates, the New York luxury consulting company. The comparison is apt. “Lily was highly social,” Mr. Burke said. “Invitations to her Sunday lunches in Palm Beach were highly coveted.” Her designs were festive, breezy and candidly pretty, not unlike those of Ms. Rose. Pearl,
“Lela is the modern-day Lily,” said Robert Burke of Robert Burke Associates, the New York luxury consulting company. The comparison is apt. “Lily was highly social,” Mr. Burke said. “Invitations to her Sunday lunches in Palm Beach were highly coveted.”
Her designs were festive, breezy and candidly pretty, not unlike those of Ms. Rose.
Pearl, priced from about $155 to $650, is two parts crisp practicality, one part froth. A deep-pocketed, coral tone jacket can double as a dress; boxy tweed jackets can be worn over tubular sheaths.
On the more overtly coquettish side is a noodle-strapped dotted Swiss sundress and, in a stroke worthy of Lily Pulitzer herself, a floral lace shift in throbbing tangerine.
The ease and flirtatiousness of the clothes is part of the draw. “Lela has such a sense of femininity and fun,” said Jenna Bush, the “Today” show correspondent and twin daughter of George W. Bush.
So is Ms. Rose’s pedigree. Her mother is Deedie Rose, the Texas art collector and Dallas grande dame. Her father was Edward Rose, a Dallas investment banker who was one of the owners, along with Mr. Bush, of the Texas Rangers baseball team. The Bushes are old family friends, Ms. Rose wants you to know. Because, as she would be first to acknowledge, in the hotly competitive fashion world, you are only as good as the people you dress.
She imagines her client as a real estate agent, or maybe junior philanthropist, or chairwoman of her local P.T.A. She may reside in any one of six cities, including San Francisco, Dallas and Charlotte, N.C. Each of those cities will in fact be served by a stylist-slash-hostess handpicked by Ms. Rose to give Lela-style parties in their own homes for a far-reaching network of local clients and friends.
“I love the graciousness of creating a kind of salon,” Ms. Rose said. “I want people in each of those cities to feel a sense of connection and community.”
Pearl will not be sold in stores or, for the moment, online, the decision to circumvent conventional retail a strategic one.
“It’s a form of guerrilla marketing,” Mr. Burke said, “a way of connecting directly to customers.
“Shopping,” he added, “is not just about Facebook ads and Instagram. I do think that people are missing the emotional and physical touch of visiting stores.”
And for fans of Ms. Rose, missing the coziness of breaking bread with friends. Tireless, the designer had baked cookies. She passed out cocktail recipes and offered canapés.
“I thought of matching the canapés to the drinks,” she said, rolling her eyes, but not really abashed.
“Thank goodness, the office talked me down from that.”