After 35 years, New York's infatuation with Carolina Herrera shows no signs of abating.
Lights, camera, Carolina! Iconic designer Carolina Herrera arrives to a flurry of flashbulbs at the wedding of Donald Trump and Marla Maples in December 1993. She designed the bride’s dress for the occasion, naturally.
Conventional wisdom has it that Carolina Herrera rose to the upper echelons of fashion royalty after launching a collection in the early ’80s at the suggestion of former Vogue editor Diana Vreeland. Her first and formidable show, at New York’s marvelous Metropolitan Club, in 1981, was her entrée into a world where she, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, and Donna Karan would be eternally known by their first names—the original fashion squad.
The Venezuelan-born fashion designer’s love of old-world glamour mixed with tech-friendly, innovative fabrication emerged early on. Sequins, suiting, and sparkle are mainstays of her collections, but so too are appliqués, accentuated sleeves, and a fine-tuned attention to detail. Her iconic personal style—white button-downs paired with feminine skirting—has been part of her M.O. from the beginning, catapulting her to the top of best-dressed lists before they were part of the everyday vernacular.
Her following of international A-listers includes several first ladies and red-carpet favorites such as Emily Blunt and Penélope Cruz. She’s garnered some of the industry’s most coveted awards, including Womenswear Designer of the Year and the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award, both from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. Prestigious, classic, timeless—all the adjectives that describe her collections also describe Herrera herself.