By Alexander Patino
POSTED September 11, 2011
Old Vegas & Coney Island Prove a Lively Spark for Lela Rose
"It's not even a girl, it's a sign," said Lela Rose backstage before her Spring 2012 collection debut. "[Collection] is
based on the Neon Graveyard, which is all the old, unrestored signs that dot the landscape of Las Vegas and
Coney Island. So it's a palette of faded neons. You could tell the colors used to be this garish, bold color that has
faded over time. We've always done bold colors, but we've never done these faded bold colors, so that feels fresh
for us."
 She's got the freshness angle down, but it is art that serves as Rose's most reliable and most versatile trope.

Rose utilized the vision of the distressed placards to play with the painterly, put to best use through her palette. Some
of the opening pieces almost looked like negatives, as if the main hues were sucked out for stark contrast. Her
playfulness sometimes got the better of her. A silk top, for instance, sheer-blocked by a chartreuse geometric cut-out
felt belabored, overwrought with aim for effect. So did a pair of trousers that looked like painter's pants (tapered
painter's pants, but still) matched with a button-up silk top with a yellow cut-out frontispiece and salmon pink short

Rose's artistic flights of fancy did rise to the occasion more often than not. A sleeveless white top with overlapping
circle cutouts with a pink, burgundy and ice grary color blocked track pant looked exciting and fresh. Those same cut
outs looked even better for more elegant purposes, as the capped sleeves and the peplum waist overlay on
Kelsey Van Mook's ivory halter dress, and there was certainly a depth of thought to a gray sheath dress with a vertical ombre that looked like an unfinished chiaroscuro drawing.  

Words like "Neon Graveyard", "unrestored signs", "Las Vegas", "faded" - it makes one think of the giant placard of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg in the valley of ashes in F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The
Great Gatsby", another work of art. It's not such a stretch to image Daisy Buchanan, that same novel's iconic heroine, donning on some of these pieces were she to be projected in the flesh.