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Sixty-nine collections since first launching her label in 1981, a Carolina Herrera show is a practised exercise in clean elegance and beautiful craftsmanship. Standing backstage five minutes before the show started, the designer was as immaculate as ever in a clean pressed white shirt, large enamel jasmine earrings and a neat grey skirt. The picture of calm in a crazy schedule.
She remains similarly unruffled by the changes in the industry. “Ah, darling,” she sighed. “There’ve always been these questions about the collections and the delivery times and the digital engagement. Just like there have always been questions about the haute couture. I don’t mind what happens. The only thing to do is to keep your eyes open and move to the future.”
At the house of Herrera, the future was 40 featherlight looks — the same number as usual, despite its presentation in the more intimate galleries of the Frick Collection, which Herrera is cleverly claiming as her own unique show space.
The collection was gossamer light, with dresses spun in delicate organza and silk georgette, and in pale fondant-icing colours. Many were decorated with a “3D” jasmine print which trembled atop gowns in a techno fabric that looked like cupro. The only concessions to winter were found in fluffy stone-coloured shearlings, patches of mink and a Prince of Wales plaid so light it nearly wafted down the catwalk.
“I don’t see the seasons any more,” claimed the designer of her emphasis on finer materials. “It’s something I’ve been observing for a while, but this collection is fairly transseasonal. Wear it in summer, wear it in winter.”
The palette was pale, she said. “There is no black.” In fact there was a little: a lovely polka-spotted skirt and gown in black and white frayed fil coupé. It was closely followed by a leather dress in damson with mink pocket patches. And then a billowing organza gown. Pretty.
The show’s message was simple. “Fashion isn’t intellectual,” said Herrera backstage. “There’s nothing intellectual about a dress. It just has to look beautiful.” She has a point: don’t overthink it.
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