With a new collection from a bouquet of top designers, Lord & Taylor blooms anew by recalling its original emblem, the rose.
Petal to the metal: Fashion Director Stephanie Solomon has helmed the brand’s Free Spirit Rose initiative, which includes the Paris Garance Tote by Karl Lagerfeld ($298) and the Naomi sunglasses by A-Morir ($815).
Lord & Taylor has long been synonymous with the timeless elegance of the American Beauty rose—ever since President Dorothy Shaver picked the bloom for the company’s logo in 1937, to be exact—but flowers, much like fashion, change with the seasons. “We researched thousands of roses to find the type that best represented the brand’s adventurous spirit and modern approach to fashion,” says current president Liz Rodbell. “The Free Spirit, with its multiple colors and beautiful blooms, felt like just the right fit.”
To celebrate the choice, the Free Spirit Rose initiative, helmed by Fashion Director Stephanie Solomon, features exclusive design collaborations with more than 20 of the fashion industry’s most lauded talents and labels, including Karl Lagerfeld Paris, Franco Sarto, and B Brian Atwood. “Stephanie was the driving force behind the execution of this collection,” says Rodbell. “She pushed the designers and our merchants to create exclusive pieces. The results are outstanding.” The inspiration can be almost literal, as in Franco Sarto’s painterly espadrilles, or sublimated into something decidedly dreamy, like the embossed white leather bag by Karl Lagerfeld. Elsewhere, the collection proves that floral prints are anything but homogeneous: Dresses by Lagerfeld, Vince Camuto, Tommy Hilfiger, and Ivanka Trump embrace the bloom’s outlines in splashy colors, amorphous shapes, and large-format lace. “The reason the concept of the rose is so apropos is that it is feminine, multi-layered, and strong,” says Solomon.
The idea to re-imagine the rose had been germinating with Lord & Taylor’s creative team for some time, until finally fate seemed to demand it. “We began discussing this eight months ago and then went to one runway show during Spring Fashion Week and the entire space was filled with roses,” says Solomon. “After that we went to the Michael Kors show, and the theme was roses. It was one of those wonderful ‘aha!’ moments.”
To complement the initiative’s collaborative designs, Lord & Taylor’s Birdcage shop-in-shop takes the concept beyond the world of fashion. “We stocked The Birdcage with products you can’t find anywhere else—like a rose scent, or a T-shirt with a rose on it—and even took it to the idea of rosé wine,” says Solomon. “The amount of creative freedom that we allowed ourselves with the rose produced many surprises, and [that] has customers coming back again and again—everybody wants to be surprised and delighted!” 5255 Western Ave. NW, 202-362-9600