Carolina Herrera has represented refined, elegant glamour for decades, so it was fitting that she invoked classic styles as she delivered her final New York Fashion Week collection as the designer of her self-titled line.
Monday’s event was held in an event space at the Museum of Modern Art — a fitting venue, given Herrera’s outsize contributions to contemporary fashion over her decades as a designer.
But her collection was timeless — not something that could be relegated to one era. In front of a crowd that included Karlie Kloss, Katie Holmes, Seth Meyers, Anna Wintour, Fran Lebowitz, Andre Leon Talley and fellow designer Calvin Klein, Herrera presented a collection that was both playful and conservative, bold and understated, colourful and muted — meaning she used her last show to feature the depth and versatility of her clothes.
The show, which had a retro jazz soundtrack heavy on Ella Fitzgerald, started out with the basics — a white top with flowing sleeves and black wide-legged pants” a long, billowing black coat” a white coat with a flash of leopard fur on the sleeves. It then segued into more glamorous fare — dresses that could be worn to a formal function, and those clearly designed for a red carpet, with bright pops of colour, including heavy doses of pink. There was a pink tuxedo outfit, a magical tulle pink and blue dress, and a black dress completely embellished with feathers that seemed to dance along with the music.
There were also several outfits that mimicked the designer’s own signature look — a crisp white collared shirt, coupled with a bold belt and equally bold colourful A-line skirts.
Herrera, who didn’t speak to the press at the event, has said that she is stepping down as creative director of the line after Monday’s show. Wes Gordon will take over, while Herrera will take on the title of global brand ambassador.
She made sure to share the spotlight as she took her final bow, bringing to the runway about two dozen of her seamstresses. Then, after receiving a bouquet of red flowers, she was embraced by Klein and others, congratulating her on her final flourish, and perhaps on her next chapter.
“Well, it’s a bit bittersweet because I just absolutely adore Mrs Herrera and she herself will be missed in the atelier everyday,” said Kloss, one of the faces of the Herrera line. “But her spirit and her timeless style is going to live on forever.”