At Carolina Herrera, Modern Elegance and Downtown-Cool

Inspired by Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s casual glamor, Wes Gordon headed downtown from the Plaza Hotel—the fashion house’s runway go-to until now—and rung in his fifth year helming Carolina Herrera at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where he swore off dress codes and delineations between daytime and evening dressing in the name of a 61-look collection inspired by what his girlfriends would want to wear.

Credit (all images): Courtesy of Carolina Herrera.

Describe the collection in three words?

Chic, feminine, modern.

Which look is your favorite?

I loved the black-and-white toile looks. There was one in particular, Look 9. I love the looks that blur the line between day and evening: taking something really fabulous floor length and dramatically cutting it in cotton. I love turning on its head the idea of dressy or casual.

What was the inspiration?

I loved the idea of what Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy did with simple ingredients: a pencil skirt, a pair of slingbacks and a cotton shirt put together in a way that feels so fabulous, feminine, and cool. I tried to capture that ease. Herrera is about making sure that everything we create is created with an exclamation point. We don’t make boring clothes. Women don’t come to us for pieces to blend in or disappear. She comes to us for clothes to have fun and feel like her most beautiful self. Everything we do has to have that flourish, that little bit of magic. Whether it’s a color, a print, embroidery, a big sleeve, it all has to have that spark.

Attending any parties or events? 

I’m looking forward to being at home. My mom’s in town visiting. She came to the show. So just a nice night in.

It’s not uncommon for New York designers to switch to showing in Paris, or stop showing at all. What keeps you at New York Fashion Week?

This is the greatest city in the world. We’re so happy to be here. This house was founded in New York in 1981. I couldn’t think of a cooler, better place to show twice a year. We played with showing in Rio for a resort collection. And that’s an idea that we’ll play with in the future. But our main runway seasons will always be in New York.

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