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NEW YORK — Carolina Herrera was the epitome of elegance on Wednesday in a three-quarter-length sleeve ivory, silk and cotton dress of her own design, naturally, at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, where she was the guest of honor at the Couture Council of the Museum of FIT’s annual luncheon.
“Late Night” host Seth Meyers, who introduced Herrera, joked that her award, the 2014 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion, is “the most succinctly named award out there. Eight words.”
Meyers said his wife, Alexi Ashe, wore a Carolina Herrera wedding gown at their ceremony last year. “When she returned from the fitting, she was the happiest I’d ever seen her, which was jarring, because I had just proposed to her,” Meyers said. He went on to tell the harrowing tale of his wedding day, which began with Ashe landing in the emergency room with food poisoning. “How you want your wife to look on the morning of your wedding day — on a gurney with an IV in her arm is low on the list. As a groom, I was terrified, because she did not look good.” Ashe rallied and when Meyers saw her in the gown, she looked more beautiful than ever. “I truly believe that dress was transformative,” he said. “Fashion can make us feel better than we feel.”
Before the luncheon, Herrera said she’s been lucky to do what she loves. “I don’t get tired of fashion,” the designer said. “I do it very happily.” Herrera has embraced the future of fashion, which has become global with the advent of social media, and said she will be opening more boutiques for CH, her secondary line, around the world.
Oscar de la Renta, who was recognized with the Couture Council award last year, said of Herrera, “She’s a great girl and a great designer. This is an important day for Carolina and for our industry in general.”
“Carolina invited me, I’ve come to support her and FIT,” Ralph Lauren said. “I haven’t been to one of these before. I like and respect Carolina, she’s a very elegant woman.”
“I’ve been wearing her for many years,” said Renée Zellweger, who was dressed in a tomato-red shift by the designer. “My first Oscars dress was Carolina Herrera, and so has every subsequent one been.”
FIT’s president Joyce Brown said, “Life begins at 40. That’s when Carolina Herrera reinvented herself as a fashion designer. Her designs and life have inspired our students. She’s volunteered countless hours mentoring our students.”
Herrera had a coterie of fans dressed in her styles, from Ivanka Trump and Lucy Liu to Julie Macklowe, the event’s luncheon cochairman, and Valerie Steele, director of the FIT museum.
“This is very flattering,” Herrera said of the award. “You have to follow your instinct and follow your heart.”