Long before Carolina Herrera’s days of impeccable designing were her days of immaculate dressing. In Caracas Venezuela, Herrera grew up filled with luxury, designer items. Her mother and grandmother regularly travelled to Paris for designer couture created by Lanvin and Balenciaga, so at a young age Herrera developed a fashion eye for sophisticated feminism.
After a trip to Paris with her socialite grandmother, Herrera found herself emerged into the world of fashion. In Paris, Herrera witnessed a Cristobal Balenciaga couture show which inspired Herrera to join the fashion industry. After a quick marriage at 18 years old, Herrera was soon divorced and dedicated her time to her new career as a publicist for Italian designer, Emilio Pucci.
Herrera was first spotted on the International Best-dressed list in 1972 and was soon elected into its Hall of Fame. Friend and Editor in Chief of Vogue at the time, Diana Vreeland, advised modest Herrera to embrace her juxtaposition of classicism and modernism and create her own signature design label. Thanks to endorsements from Vreeland, in 1981 Herrera showed her first collection at the Metropolitan club in New York. Her first collection was extremely well received by the cities elite, which lead to the beginning of her fashion dynasty and the opening of New York in-house atelier.
By building a team of highly skilled craftsmen, Herrera was able to complete the process of sketches through to finished products within the walls of her atelier. Herrera launched her bridal line in 1987 which greatly appealed to the luxury- loving socialites of New York. Herrera’s eye for sensible femininity is undeniable. Some of the world’s most notable fashionistas have dawned Herrera’s garments including First Ladies, Jacqueline Onassis and Michelle Obama, as well as several A-list actresses like Renée Zellweger.
Eveningwear and red carpet design are among Herrera’s fortes. The distinguished label includes touches of Herrera’s favourite pieces — crisp blouses, flattering pencil skirts, cocktail gowns and glamorous eveningwear, which have kept Herrera at the top of New York fashion houses many decades.
With a specialty for classic silhouettes, Herrera stays true to her brand identity which has brought her to such success over her years in the fashion industry. At 75 the design icon has three wildly successful labels: Carolina Herrera New York, Carolina Herrera Bridal and CH Carolina The diffusion line includes fragrance, menswear, handbags and shoes.
Herrera’s billion dollar global empire stays consistently strong due to relevant designs that are timelessly elegant for the modern day woman.
LAST WORD : Carolina Herrera on the topic of STYLE
“I prefer clothes that are simple, well-cut, but with one major extravagance. Something with the sleeves, with the skirt, but nothing too fussy, too flashy. I love white shirts because they feel like a security blanket. You can wear them with anything. It’s the person and the way that they wear it that makes it different. I have been designing white shirts forever, but I don’t get tired of it. Sometimes the simplest things are the most profound.”
By Josie Saldat inside the Winter 2014 issue of NICHE