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Fashion / Style File

One of the World’s Best-Dressed Women Gets a Major Dallas Moment

She Practically Invented Socialite Style — and Michelle Obama Swears By Her

BY // 09.15.16

Like many of the best things that have happened in American fashion, Diana Vreeland started it. Thirty five years ago, with encouragement from the legendary editor, Carolina Herrera debuted her collection at the Metropolitan Club in New York. Since then, the Venezuelan designer has built an empire on exquisite taste, designing wedding gowns for the likes of Caroline Kennedy and famously dressing first ladies Jacqueline Onassis, Nancy Reagan, and Michelle Obama. Her clientele is lush with society’s top swans, a list she is famously tight-lipped in sharing.

Herrera’s immaculate eye is a matter of nature and nurture. Born to an elite family in Caracas, her socialite grandmother introduced her to fashion, bringing her along on shopping trips to Cristóbal Balenciaga’s studio in Spain. Emilio Pucci, a close family friend, gave her one of her first fashion jobs, and after moving to New York in the early ’80s she was a regular on the Studio 54 scene. As part of the jet-set clique of wealthy international travelers, Herrera was privy to a rarified world and a way of dressing that would become her signature.

Carolina Herrera conducts fittings for her Spring 2016 collection.
Carolina Herrera conducts fittings for her Spring 2016 collection.

She was named to the International Best Dressed List in 1980 — a year before launching her fashion label. And she has been one of the world’s best dressed since.

As the fashion world raises a glass to Herrera in celebration of the 35th anniversary of her atelier, Neiman Marcus toasts the designer, too. This month, the queen of chic comes to Dallas to dress The Crystal Charity Ball’s brightest and to receive the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion. For the woman who practically invented the modern socialite’s definition of style, we could think of few more appropriate venues for Herrera to be honored.

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35 and Fabulous: How to celebrate a milestone year, Herrera style.
• In October, Herrera’s latest book — Carolina Herrera: 35 Years of Fashion (Rizzoli) — hits stores.
• “Refined Irreverence,” the first major museum exhibition of Herrera’s work, opened at Savannah College of Art and Design FASH Museum of Fashion + Film (through September 25).
• Meet the Icon: The designer presented a capsule Icon collection for Resort 2017, filled with season-less pieces that update the classics she’s designed through the years — think crisp white button-downs, ball skirts, and wide-legged jumpsuits.
• To star in the campaign for the Icon collection, Herrera tapped Mad Men starlet Kiernan Shipka. The 16-year-old is, no doubt, Herrera’s vision for the next generation of woman she’ll dress for the next 35 years.

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