NAME: Lela Rose | AGE: 37: | HOMETOWN: Dallas | QUALIFICATIONS: Graduated from Parsons the New School for Design, in New York / Launched the Lela Rose ready-to-wear line in 1997, which sells in more than sixty specialty stores nationwide / Introduced a wedding collection in October 2006
• Weddings are going a bit more intimate these days; it’s more about having a real sense of what that day is supposed to mean and not being as much of a spectacle. Women want to reflect that in what they’ rewearing. Choosing a gown shouldn’t take over your life.
• When you’re shopping, you and one other person is ideal. If you are close with your mother and you can deal with it, then take her with you.
• I’ll tell you one thing you should avoid: too many opinions. It kills the fun when you’ve got too many cooks in the kitchen and they’re all saying things and you’re so confused and thinking, “What?! You don’t like this? I really like this.” It’s like when you tell people the names you’re thinking of for your unborn child and you get way too many unsolicited opinions. Just make a decision and go with it.
• Don’t be too close-minded about what is going to look right on you. Women come in saying, “ I know I don’t want X,” but once they start trying the dresses on,they say, “ Oh, actually I do like this.”
• Bring shoes that are similar in height to what you’ll wear. Once you put a heel on, it makes a difference with the dress.
• It’s mostly the shape of a dress that makes it timeless. I don’t know when we’ll look back at brides from the early eighties, for example, and say leg-of-mutton sleeves were a good idea. You need to keep within more-classic shapes.
• I think the really full dress has had its time. I’m not necessarily advocating a straight, long column gown but something that has shape without being held out by a petticoat or tulle underskirt and just falls naturally. Do you really want your dress to be this all-consuming thing, where if you fell out of a building, you’d land on a trampoline of tulle?
• Anything that flares starting at the high hip always looks good.
• As we were designing our wedding collection, I kept saying, “Ugh, I’m so tired of seeing strapless, strapless, strapless.” And every bride walks into a store and says, “I definitely don’t want to do strapless.” But you quickly realize why so many of them do choose it: The second you put it on, it opens your entire frame up and highlights your face better.
• Know your body type. Your wedding is not necessarily the time you want to be showing it all off. Everyone is looking at you, so if you’re hanging out of a dress too much, it’s—well, pick other moments for that. Like your honeymoon.