Lela Rose knows how to throw a party. Recognized for her bridal gowns, floral prints and feminine dresses, and for pedaling her bicycle around town with effortless chic, the New York City fashion designer has penned a new book on entertaining that reveals her singular gift for combining uptown polish with downtown fun.
Pret-a-Party: Great Ideas for Good Times and Creative Entertaining (Rizzoli, 2015) — ideal for holiday inspiration and for gifting! — is a window onto what Lela refers to as, “my world of daring, slightly mischievous nuttiness, where inspiration drives the plans and every day can (and should) be its own occasion.”
“I love the pomp and circumstance of a formal gathering, but I’ve also never met a tradition that I didn’t want to run my bike tires over,” says the native Texan whose love of cooking and entertaining is inspired by her mother.
To celebrate the season, we’re giving away a copy of Pret-a-Party, signed by Lela, of course.
You’re automatically entered when you sign up for the velojoy newsletter.
Winner chosen at random and announced on Friday, Dec. 18
Update: This contest is closed. Congrats to winner S. Hays of NYC!
The busy entrepreneur and mom focuses as much creativity and attention to detail on the parties that she throws for friends, family and good causes with her husband, Brandon, as on the frocks she conjures for her eponymous label.
Like the fashion design process, Lela explains, each event she plans begins with “a speck of an idea” — a color, a mood, a visual. Thus, each chapter of the book is devoted to a single occasion, intimate or large in scale, ranging from the dressy holiday dinner featured here to a non-traditional (wink) rooftop tea party to a bike ride and picnic on bucolic Governors Island. You’ll find lavish photos, menus, table settings, recipes for food and cocktails and helpful hints for entertaining success.
A sit-down Christmas party is featured in Pret-a-Party by Lela Rose.
A Rum Flip cocktail sets a festive mood.
Subtle hues and layered textures reflect a White Christmas theme.
Acorn Squash Salad with Winter Radishes, White Miso Vinaigrette and Pumpkin Seed adds seasonal flavor to the menu.
Often spotted in the bike lanes in heels and clothes of her own design, Lela says she considers bicycling the most efficient way to get around town, whether she’s commuting from her downtown loft to her Garment District office, picking up her children from school, shopping at the Union Square Greenmarket or enjoying outings with her family on weekends.
“I don’t see riding a bike as a reason to compromise your style,” she writes. “I ride all over the city with only the occasional concession of a pair of flats.”
Chic cyclist Lela Rose rides through in Central Park with a regular passenger, her Norwich terrier.
A self-proclaimed “evangelist” for two-wheeled transportation, Lela spreads the bike love through active support of Transportation Alternatives and even partnered with her friend Kristy Scrymgeour of Velocio in designing a signature floral collection of road cycling apparel earlier this year.
So, it’s not surprising that Lela includes her three, bicycles each designed for a special purpose, in the pages of Pret-a-Party. The style maven wrapped the one above in colorful parachute cord for the Tour de Fashion a few years ago, demonstrating once again that fun and flair can be a part of every dimension of life. Party on!
Lela helps set the stage for a rooftop “Tea-quila” party on a friend’s rooftop.
Photos courtesy of Rizzoli. Book cover photo: Quentin Bacon. Book photos: Kayleigh Jankowski