They could have had some balloons, or popped a bottle of Champagne. For a 40th anniversary celebration, the Carolina Herrera spring 2022 runway show was a fairly muted affair, down to the models’ facial expressions.
The storied mansion turned contemporary art gallery on East 89th Street was an interesting venue, but the seriousness of the setting didn’t match the ebullience of designer Wes Gordon’s collection.
And for all the cooperation that’s been touted between the CFDA and IMG this season, scheduling a show at Spring Studios in the slot before one on the Upper East Side didn’t do either brand any favors when it came to attendance.
Nevertheless, the clothes were worth celebrating, further evidence of how Gordon has brought the brand’s bold 1980s-era femininity into today, starting in graphic black-and-white.
“Our woman is not a wallflower, she’s not shy; she loves getting dressed and expressing herself. There is always that component of chic but she plays with her clothes. It’s not timid,” he said of the house ethos, which may be boldness but never strays far from the canon of familiar American classics.
A black-and-white tiered tulle halter gown referred back to one of the first styles Gordon designed when he was a consultant at Herrera, while a strapless vertical stripe stunner paid homage to a style worn by both Venus and Serena Williams in one of Gordon’s favorite Vogue editorials from the 2010s.
A black wool suit with Herrera silk faille power sleeves and cummerbund pants was on point, as was a darling red cotton poplin day dress with gathered short sleeves, an oversize gold loop belt buckle and a lot of leg. An orange seersucker sundress with shirred bodice and shredded fabric detail at the shoulders was another charmer.
Party clothes are the brand’s bread-and-butter, even during COVID-19 times, and there were lots of dramatic pieces to choose — a red poppy and black-and-white polka dot chiffon minidress with floating train, a pink off-the-shoulder mini with puff ball sleeves, and a black column with a 3D embroidered ruffle that flipped up on itself were pure joy. And for the first time, all of the accessories were also Herrera, including fun beaded hoop earrings and spectator pumps.
“I feel like I’m clearer in my vision for Herrera and our woman than I’ve ever been,” Gordon said.
Three cheers to that.