For many in the group of several dozen well-masked and well-dressed women, the mini-Fashion in the Fields gathering at Hope Farms on Houston’s south side was the first real outing since March when COVID-19 raised its ugly head. The al fresco frocks and frolic was just the antidote for the pandemic fatigue that has been haunting many.

Safety protocols were in place from the taking of guests temperature, to their signing of a paper stating no knowledge of COVID in their household, and spaced seating for the program that was held in the open air Gathering Barn. Even guest arrivals were specifically timed to prevent crowding at check-in.

The event was a fill-in for the highly successful Fashion in the Fields fundraiser held at the farm each fall. On this day, guests were limited to patrons and underwriters of the annual event. The 2020 Tootsies fashion presentation featuring Lela Rose was postponed until fall of 2021 due to the pandemic. Yet, her fashions were there and she would be before the event ended.

Racks of the designer’s latest creations, classic and beautiful, hung from racks on all sides of the barn, many of the looks just having arrived at Tootsies only the day before. That’s when chair of the now 2021 Fashion in the Fields fundraiser Sippi Khurana picked up her stunning day dress which was floaty to ankle length.

A handful of the event’s most generous benefactors, each wearing Lela Rose, was introduced to the gathering. In fact, the dress code for the day was “Lela Rose and Boots.”

Taylor Larson and Erika Taugher picnicking on treats from Salata at Hope Farm’s Fashion in the Fields outing benefiting Recipe for Success. (Photo by Shelby Hodge)

Although the designer was unable to join the party in person (travel between New York and Texas dicey due to the coronavirus), Rose did make an appearance via Zoom for an interview with Tootsies’ creative director Fady Armanious and Houston Chronicle fashion editor Joy Sewing.

From her office in New York, Rose allowed that this gathering was a first for her, the first time that her namesake marque label Lela Rose was presented in tandem with her Pearl by Lela Rose line.

“Lela Rose is a collection that stands all on its own. It’s for a woman with a calendar full of socials events,” Rose says. “Pearl by Lela Rose is more casual, really about taking you out every day.”

While waiting for the program to begin, the ladies shopped; sipped libations, some including Tito’s vodka; picnicked on lunch boxes from Salata; and then went home with nosegays of roses from Flower Child Urban Flower Farm and a generous swag bag from Tootsies.

PC Seen: Tootsies’ senior buyer Penne Weidig, Amanda Boffone, Stephanie Fleck, Mary Tere Perusquia, Carrie Brandsburg-Dahl, Adrian Dueñas, Bethany Buchanan, Jen McDonald, Maggie Barclay, Taylor Larson, Erika Taugher, Karen Johnson, Sneha Merchant, Naureen Malik, Melissa Stevens, Ruchi Mukhurjee, Virginia McFarland and Melissa Sugulas, fashion consultant and exclusive Houston representative for Pear by Lela Rose.

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