Last Thursday, Paris-based label Rowen Rose toasted the opening of its spring-summer collection pop-up at H.Lorenzo with champagne, macarons, and Hollywood-inspired decor. Take a look inside.

H.Lorenzo x Rowen Rose: Inside the Pop-Up Reception on Sunset Boulevard

Last Thursday, Paris-based label Rowen Rose toasted the opening of its spring-summer collection pop-up at H.Lorenzo with champagne, macarons, and Hollywood-inspired decor. Take a look inside.
April 10, 2024
article by Mari Alexander/

photography by Gian Barbarona and Keegan Attlee

Imagine walking into the cavernous closet of a forgotten film star — more specifically, Norma Desmond, the antagonist of Billy Wilder’s 1950 film Sunset Boulevard.

Imagine the heady glamor. The exuberant jewels dripping from antique bust sculptures. The gold-leafed mirrors. The ornate candelabras. Oh, and of course, the sumptuous clothes. That’s the mood that Emma Rowen Rose, founder and creative director of Paris-based label Rowen Rose, has conjured up at the opening reception of her spring-summer 2024 collection pop-up titled, “Sunset Boulevard.” 

“I actually discovered [the movie] a year ago when I was designing a collection,” Emma tells me, her voice standing on its tiptoes to reach above the music. In fantasy, we might be in Norma’s home, but in reality, we’re chit-chatting in the downstairs level of H.Lorenzo — a multi-brand boutique in Los Angeles that sits, very fittingly, on Sunset Boulevard. All around, there’s lace draped like curtains and candles in glass vases. Everything is awash in a warm, apricot-orange glow that mimics sunlight filtering through the windows.

AboveAt the opening reception, guests were also treated to glasses of bubbly, scrumptious macarons, and a champagne tower.

This kind of theatricality feels very signature to Emma. The half-Spanish, half-Polish designer started her brand in 2018, after a brief stint at Alessandra Rich. “When I started the brand, I was 21,” Emma tells me. “I was very naive, and I really didn’t know what I was getting into.” So she sold her car and used the funds to create her first collection, which was inspired by her Spanish roots and a play by Federico Garcia Lorca. 

“I’m incapable of [designing] even one piece without a story,” she explains. That’s how every Rowen Rose collection starts. Before sketches are drawn and fabric is draped onto a dress form, a story is conceived on paper. It may come from a place she’s recently visited or a book she’s read, but more often than not, it’s sparked by watching a particularly engrossing piece of cinema, like Sunset Boulevard. “I just got struck by this woman and the complexity of her character,” Emma tells me. “The collection isn’t inspired by the movie itself; it’s inspired by this character.”

On the leftAlso on display at the pop-up? Rowen Rose’s baroque-inspired jewelry — like this crystal-embellished necklace.

In the movie, Norma is a former silent-film star living in seclusion in her decaying mansion on Sunset Boulevard. In her quest to make a big-screen comeback and resuscitate her career, she draws a struggling screenwriter into her fame-obsessed world. “I think that fame was such an interesting subject for me to explore as a designer,” Emma says. 

For celebrities, getting dressed is a balancing act. At times, it means high-profile glamor. Other times, it means backing away from the shimmer and shine. That’s what this collection is all about, Emma tells me. It’s about a daily closet that’s pap-proof and discreet but also manages to capture everyone’s eyeballs. And what is more synonymous with discretion and privacy than sleepwear?

That’s where we start, the first items Emma pulls from the rack: a silky, butter-yellow top-and-bottom set. We’re back, mentally, in Norma’s extravagant mansion. “When we enter her home, we think it’s abandoned,” Emma says, “but she’s actually living inside.” With this look, Emma reimagines what the faded silent star would’ve worn while holed up in her cluttered and neglected house. “This is about pajama dressing,” she says. “Fancy pajama dressing.” 

Elsewhere, we see a mash-up of athleisure and lace-tinged glamor. A white polo shirt boasts a floral lace pattern and a sportswear-inspired collar you’d typically see courtside. A calf-grazing dress reimagines tennis-wear in knit, more suited for post-game cocktails than swinging rackets. And while Rowen Rose’s signature bright colors are absent (the collection takes a more muted turn), the brand’s DNA unmistakably comes through by way of scaled-up shoulders and structured construction. 

On the leftEmma Rowen Rose wears her namesake brand’s lace polo top tucked into an elegant black skirt and tied together with a pearl-festooned belt.

There are moments where we see uninterrupted, elegant femininity, especially in a gorgeous black dress with a midriff-baring cutout, shoulder pads, and sun-shaped metalwork. “Again, it’s about finding the right balance — something that’s going to be daring, sexy, but extremely elegant,” she says, before correcting herself. “Actually, I don’t love the word ‘sexy.’” The most effective designs are the ones that you can’t describe in one word because they’re never one thing. They just exude that certain — well, je ne sais quoi.

It’s this allure that has gained Emma so much visibility early on and helped her win over shoppers who’re drawn to her eclectic, baroque-inspired sensibility. “The first [store] that got my collection for my first-ever season was H.Lorenzo,” Emma says. Being in Los Angeles, then, must hold meaning in more ways than one. I ask her if it’s her first time here in the film capital of the country. “I haven’t been in 10 years,” she says, explaining that she barely gets the opportunity to travel for work. “I’m so excited to be here. I love it here.