In recent seasons Carolina Herrera has been experimenting with her use of decorative details, sometimes piling them on and at others, including last fall, paring down to keep the focus squarely on the silhouette. For spring she’s taken elements of those past collections, giving equal focus to line and embellishment. Along the way, she looked to the Bauhaus for inspiration. “It was such a modern movement,” Herrera said before her show. “I love everything they did — in art, in fashion, in interiors, the colors.” Yet she shunned any retro connotations with a firm “It’s not Thirties” declaration.
On that point, she was spot-on. This was Herrera at her most chic, and au courant, doling out the flamboyance her ladies demand but, in the spirit of Bauhaus, with deliberate control. Most of the surface interest of the clothes was delivered in lines — thin blocks of stripes in yellow, green and black; embroideries and appliqués in various geometric renderings. The only nonlinear decorative motif was a charming sparrow print used for separates and dresses, including a charming shift with a bold graphic appliqué on one side.
Throughout, Herrera worked in plenty of her staples, such as bow blouses and shirtdresses, as well as high-drama evening gowns, both constructed and fluid. But she delivered surprises as well, primarily in sportswear mode: graphic knits; short, snappy jackets, and a single pants shape — pleated and cuffed casually above the ankle. As for her lone bag, a spunky little shopper with contrasting handles and trim — a winner.