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Jenna Bush's Bridesmaids to be Texas Belles

Lela Rose dresses play off of state's wildflowers.

Sketches by Lela Rose of the bridesmaids dresses

Sketches by Lela Rose of the bridesmaids' dresses.

Photo By WWD Staff

Jenna Bush will be showing off her Texas roots and surroundings at her May 10 wedding at the family’s Crawford, Tex. ranch.

At the bride-to-be’s suggestion, Lela Rose has designed seven knee-length dresses in seven colors inspired by the state’s wildflowers for the 14 members of her “house party,” a Southern term for attendants. Each ethereal dress has handmade rosettes and is made of crinkle silk chiffon backed with cotton voile. Rose, whose of-the-moment weddings dresses have been embraced by more directionalstores, has created seven dresses with such modern touches as boatnecks and pocket details – without a strapless style in sight.

In the spring, bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas, Indian paintbrushes and other wildflowers grow rampant along Texas highways, thanks largely to Lyndon Johnson’s late wife Lady Bird, who championed a nationwide beautification program. Her fellow Texan First Lady Laura Bush has followed suit in a similar vein. Just last week during a speech in Dallas, Bush said the First Bloom program, a National Park Foundation program she launchedlast fall, carries on Lady Bird Johnson’s legacy.

“It will be glorious in Texas at this time of year. It could not be prettier,” said Rose, who grew up in the Lone Star state and has known the First Daughters since they were young. “Crawford has meant so much to them. Having their wedding in a natural space and mimicking nature seemed very natural for them.”

Jenna Bush will wear an Oscar de la Renta gown when she weds Henry Hager in an outdoor evening ceremony in front of 200 friends and family members.

The First Family will put the celebratory mood in motion May 9 with a pre-wedding bash. The blonde haired twin is taking everything in stride.

“She’s very relaxed, easygoing and just so happy. She has a great group of girls around her and she’s known many of them for years. I think she’s enjoyed every single moment of it,” Rose said.

Jenna Bush’s twin sister and maid-of-honor Barbara, who will be the only female attendant standing with her during the ceremony, will wear a long Lela Rose moonstone-colored shimmery gown with a pretty antique silver beltand a low-back. The designer created a similar belt for the attendants.
Barbara Bush’s dress was dyed to match the brunette First Daughter’s blue eyes. “It’s really stunning on her,” Rose said.

Bush and her 14 attendants have visited Rose’s atelier for fittings and a few even caught the designer’s bridal fashion show Sunday. The behind-the-scenes meetings with the designer was an extra kick for the women, but Barbara Bush already knew the ins and outs, having worked for Rose as an intern during her Yale undergrad days.

In fact, Bush’s and Rose’s families have been friendly for years, so much so that Jenna Bush and her parents attended Rose’s wedding in Dallas in 1999. Rose’s mother Deedie, a pillar in the Dallas art and design scene, recommended architect David Heymann to work on the Crawford, Tex. ranch.

Now that Lela Rose has gotten all the female attendants squared away in the dress department, she needs to figure out what she will wear in Crawford. “I have no idea. It’s terrible. Whenever I have some sort of black tie event, I usually decide what to wear right before I leave,” she said.“As far as I can tell, the wedding will be really fun.”


For complete coverage, see Wednesday's WWD.
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