I HAVE BEEN A FAN of Carolina
Herrera for a very long time, and in my eyes, she can do
no wrong. Having said that, I must admit to being slightly alarmed
at the direction her fall 2004 collection took. She has been taking
small, incremental steps to bring down the age of her typical customer
over the years but this season, she picked up the pace by stepping
very hard on the accelerator and zooming ahead faster than a Dodge
Viper on steroids. It is a spectacularly beautiful collection but
she went so young, so fast.
It was only later on that I got it. She isn't
getting any younger, and she is in the process of very publicly
getting her house in order for the eventual handover of the company
to her designated heirs. Naturally, she wants her business to survive
her eventual departure; therefore she is doing everything she can
to ensure it continued success.
Mrs Herrera, as mentioned above, has also been
fine-tuning the concept of just who is the atypical Carolina Herrera
woman, and the best explanation to that question was the one she
gave to Fashion Week Daily's Jim Shi in June of this year.
There's not just one Carolina Herrera woman,
she said, because I design for many women. I want her to look
elegant, sophisticated, chic and actual. I want [my clothes] to
look like they belong in the 21st century. I don't want them to
look retro or old-fashioned or anything like that. Ah, the
mystery has been solved.
Mrs Herrera also has a definite sense of what
distinguishes her brand from all others: I think women should
like real women. They should look feminine, [but not with] that
sexiness. Seductiveness is a better word than sexiness
in my clothes fell natural; they feel well.
I don't believe
in trends because I think too many trends destroy fashion. For me,
individuality is part of being chic.
She was inspired by the European ski resorts of
Gstaad and St Moritz, where the traditional elements of skiing is
mixed with the new look of extreme luxury on and off the sloops.
In this environment, fur is a must-have, layering is de risqué
for both day and night, and the winter scarf completes the look,
adorning the neck or the waist.
For day, she showed multi-coloured cashmere jacquard
sweaters and various fur jackets and mink sweaters paired with form-fitting
wool ski pants. For those occasions where a ski pant is a little
too informal, she sent out lovely suits, dresses and coats guaranteed
to keep you current and warm at the same time. Stand-out pieces
here include her wine cashmere turtleneck paired with an aubergine
cashmere long skirt (and a aubergine silk twill-fur scarf), Karolina
Kurkova in a beautiful chiffon ribbon printed (asymmetrical hem)
dress with a velvet collar strap, Adina in a aubergine cashmere
shell top (and scarf) paired with a ivory chiffon embroidered skirt
and Frankie Rayder in a beige wool skirt suit topped with a ivory
cashmere shell and scarf. Clearly, for day, it's all about the scarf
and she showed enough of them to inspire a woman to buy one for
every day of the week.
For night, Mrs Herrera stayed the course, pairing
her beautiful gowns and evening separates with silk twill ski vests.
Special mention must be made of her gorgeous ivory cashmere beaded
sweater (paired with a ivory silk twill long evening skirt), Her
ivory tulle beaded halter top paired with a ivory crochet evening
skirt (and the ubiquitous silk twill ski vest), and a chiffon ribbon
print evening skirt paired with a aubergine silk twillfur
ski vest. It's not a certainty that anyone will put the two (a ski
vest and an evening gown) together but she is merely making a new
option available to you the customer.
Mrs Herrera also sent out more "traditional"
evening looks such as her black lace strapless gown and a black
tulle strapless gown with tulle panels, but I much preferred her
black-gold organza top (and black organza layered evening skirt),
her ivory chiffon halter top (and navy-gold skirt with organza panels)
and the coup de grâce, an ivory organzagold lâmé
shirt paired with a beige moiré wrap skirta look she
herself wore to the CFDA Fashion Awards
in June where she won the Women's Wear Designer of the Year Award,
as voted upon by her peers. It was a richly deserved honour and
our congratulations go out to Mrs Herrera for a job well done.
In this environment, fur is
a must-have, layering is de risqué for both day and
night, and the winter scarf completes the look