Carolina Herrera’s latest collection marks 35th anniversary

Carolina Herrera had cause for a celebration at New York Fashion Week this week. While many who ‘wear’ her label do so through one of her fragrances, yesterday was a celebration of the 35 years in which her label has offered up beautiful clothes for the very wealthy… and the very elegant.

Herrera models don’t look like angsty teens and they don’t stomp down the runway. They glide serenely. But what they do do, this season at least, is wear denim. They wore denim too in her first collection back in 1981, so it seems fitting.

Nonetheless, it was a surprise move to open the show with a gown that may have been red carpet-ready but also came in that most humble of materials, topstitched denim. Heavily structured and teamed – equally surprisingly – with flat shoes, it set the tone for a collection that delighted the critics and showed just why Herrera has been such a favourite for over three decades.

The label is, of course, getting ready for a period of change with Raffaele Ilardo having been named as its VP of design in the past few weeks. But yesterday, the collection was more about looking back, without ever falling into the trap of wallowing in nostalgia.

The critics certainly liked it (superlatives like “lovely” and “fantastic” tripped off the tongue of Vogue Runway’s reviewer) and there’s no denying she deftly mixed a tribute to past glories with an approach that felt very modern.

It came through in the denim pieces, in the black and white gingham (interpreted both as a gala gown and a knee-length dress), in the intricately cut blouses teamed with brocade skirts, in the black and white striped dresses that are reinterpretations of 80s looks and in the white sheers that will most likely be bridalwear favourites come next year.

Herrera has a new book too, celebrating her 35 years. This collection was a deft summing up of that three-and-half decades.

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