NEW YORK — With her spring runway show less than two weeks away, Carolina Herrera had another kind of presentation to tend to Monday — Raffaele Ilardo has joined her company as vice president of design.
Ilardo was at work in the designer’s studio Monday, overseeing creative development and design for the Carolina Herrera New York ready-to-wear and bridal collections. He joins the company from Maison Margiela, where he served as creative adviser and atelier director under John Galliano. Ilardo’s résumé includes posts at Chanel, Oscar de la Renta and a decade at Christian Dior as atelier director.
His appointment coincides with the 35th anniversary of the company, which all began with the designer’s first runway show at New York’s Metropolitan Club. Her modus operandi remains the same, to create “beautifully made, elegant clothes for a global woman of today in a New York-based atelier by a couture-trained team with a strong sensibility for wearable fashion,” according to a statement released by the company Monday.
Herrera said Ilardo “is joining me at this moment as we journey into the next stage of our company’s evolution. He has a deep understanding of how to create perfectly made clothes — beautiful inside and out. I knew this the moment we met. Raffaele’s pedigree speaks for itself; that said, he knows that women have to wear their clothes, not just look at them.”
Ilardo is taking on some of the responsibilities previously handled by Hervé Pierre, who exited the company as creative director in February after more than 14 years.
His appointment comes after a busy few months for Herrera. The designer’s ongoing collaborator Mario Testino shot Karlie Kloss and Lily Aldridge for the Carolina Herrera New York and CH Carolina Herrera digital and print ad campaign. Last month, the company introduced “Good Girl,” the brand’s biggest fragrance launch in 14 years and the first new pillar to be introduced since 2007. The scent’s tag line, “It’s So Good to Be Bad,” draws from interviews Herrera has done with women. The designer also received two retrospective exhibitions at the Savannah College of Art and Design, in Savannah and Atlanta.
Ilardo is well-skilled in the art of discretion, having worked in the atelier as head tailor and director of the sample room when Oscar de la Renta designed the gowns for Amal Clooney and Huma Abedin. Herrera has created her share of wedding gowns for well-known brides. Last fall, the designer dressed Hilary Rhoda for her wedding, and she also did the honors for Olivia Palermo and Jessica Simpson.
Monse founders Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim had been consulting in the design studio at Herrera over the last few months and Ilardo’s appointment stirs further speculation that the duo may be rejoining their former employer Oscar de la Renta following the departure of Peter Copping as creative director last month. They are believed to be no longer consulting for Herrera.
A spokesman for Garcia and Kim did not respond to a request for comment. There was no news Monday regarding Copping’s successor, according to an Oscar de la Renta spokeswoman.