Carolina Herrera

Tonie Ong

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Carolina Herrera Collection

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Articles on Carolina Herrera

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When it comes to American fashion, it’s all about strictness and cleanliness. A bit far from the tailoring in London, the embellishments in Milan and the frills and ruffles in Paris, American sophistication is defined by its crispness and simplicity. Although they can oftentimes display elaborate silhouettes and shapes, and maybe have a bit of lace here and there, the refined American taste is very much attuned to a minimalist approach. Often times they may also exude the sensibilities of Paris haute couture, but the principles of simplicity remain the same. Such is the foundation of the Carolina Herrera brand.

Carolina Herrera is one of the leading brands in fashion today. Based in New York, the namesake founder established a look of elegance and refinement but with a simplistic approach. In everything that she does, she attests that there must always be a sense of sophistication, whether it’s for everyday life or for evening galas. She’s part of a series of designers in the latter part of the 21st century that helped establish New York City as the center of American fashion and as a capital that can rival the likes of Paris and Milan. And she started her empire when she was already quite mature.

Exposure to fashion since childhood

Carolina Herrera was named María Carolina Josefina Pacanins y Niño when she was born on January 8, 1939, in Caracas, Venezuela. She belonged to a rich society family in the country, and her grandmother would often bring her along to watch fashion shows in Paris or when she’d buy clothes from haute couture houses. It was through her that Herrera got interested in fashion and inherited her sense and love for style. In 1968, she got married to her husband Reinaldo Herrera Guevara, a renowned television host and also 5th Marquis of Torre Casa. It was through him that Carolina got the name Herrera and the brief title of the Marquis Consort of Torre Casa. Their titles would soon be taken away from them as they bore no son to inherit the title.

By the 1980’s, the Herrera family moved to New York City, where Carolina caught the eye of many designers and the fashion press. She was included in the Vanity Fair’s prestigious International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame and came to be one of the most well-known stylish socialites in Manhattan. In 1981, one of her friends Diana Vreeland, former editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, convinced Herrera to start her own clothing line, which she eventually did. She opened a boutique in Park Avenue and her pieces were sold at the prominent retailer, Martha’s. Her debut collection was met with critical acclaim and commercial success, further convincing the designer to really establish her brand. To this day, the label still operates with an atelier in New York City and shows bi-annually in New York Fashion Week.

Signature white shirt

Through the years, the designer had conjured up a signature that has become synonymous with her brand—the crisp white shirt. Having worn the staple herself, her brand has become one of the go-to labels to provide the best white shirts in the world. It’s simplicity, elegance and timelessness are what makes it perfect for a brand that also upholds such qualities. The designer has even paired the white shirt with almost everything—skirts, pants, and ball gown skirts. She was able to make the staple a versatile piece of clothing, perfect for work during the day and an evening gala at night.

Different lines

Apart from her main ready-to-wear line, the designer has also opened up a series of diffusion lines to further expand her brand. In the 1980’s, the Puig company collaborated with the label to release fragrances under the designer’s name. This gave way to perfumes such as Good Girl (known for its shoe-shaped bottle), 212 Sexy, and 212 VIP Rose, among others. When Puig acquired the entire business in 1995, they released a diffusion line called CH by Carolina Herrera in 2008. The ready-to-wear line features simpler and lesser-stylized clothes than the main line and is a lot more available in more countries.

Famous Fans

Since opening her brand in the 1980’s, women of the upper class have embraced her designs. Throughout the years, Herrera was able to dress some of the most stylish socialites and the prominent figures in history. She dressed former US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and made her daughter’s. Caroline Kennedy’s, wedding dress. With her timeless and elegant look, she also became a favorite among Hollywood’s elite for the red carpet. She has dressed the likes of Amy Adams, Renee Zellweger, and Nicole Kidman. She’s also been able to capture the younger starlet crowd such as pop star Taylor Swift and actress Dianna Agron.

When one thinks of elegance, it’s difficult to leave out the name Carolina Herrera. Her brand and herself both personify what it means to be dedicated to refinement and sophistication, even when fashion has embraced different styles from time to time. Furthermore, both also exemplify the very best of American fashion—one that is timeless, classic, and elegant.

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