Fashion / Style

New York’s Super Garden Transforms Into Fashion Wonderland Thanks to Wonder Boy Designer

Carolina Herrera Gets Even Bolder With Wes Gordon

BY // 10.09.19

NEW YORK — When you follow a legend, it helps to think big. Since assuming the top job at Carolina Herrera after the founder stepped down last year, Wes Gordon has put his stamp on the venerable brand with bold choices.

The 32-year-old wonder boy designer’s previous collections for Herrera have played with color and volume, but for spring 2020, he went even bigger than expected at New York Fashion Week with supersized floral prints in homage to the California Super Bloom  — the burst of wildflowers that occurs in the Golden State with the right combination of rain and snow in late fall and early winter, followed by cool daytime temperatures and cold nights. The color explosion usually happens about once a decade but has occurred twice in the past three years due to the favorable conditions.

Gordon chose the Gardens of the Battery, the largest perennial public garden in North America, to unveil his collection of floral patterns in super-saturated colors like “taxi cab” yellow, hot pink, brilliant orange, and “cielo” (sky) blue. Long skirts in wildflower patterns were paired with crisp white cotton shirts in a nod to the Herrera legacy. (Herrera almost always wore a white shirt when making her runway bow as a designer; now, on the front row viewing the collection, she chose a white collarless jacket and black trousers.)

Gordon continued the bold theme with strapless evening gowns in kiwi green satin, dresses dotted with black-and-white polka dots of varying sizes and gowns emblazoned with a lily of the valley floral pattern.

He toned down the look a bit in the middle of the collection with a series of relatively sedate plaid and striped frocks, along with a trench coat and sheath dress in basic black, but returned to the bigger and bolder theme with polka-dotted evening gowns and party dresses that make a fashion statement.

The transition at Herrera under Gordon’s tenure was reflected in the celebrity front row, which ranged from traditional Herrera clients like Martha Stewart and Ariana Huffington to new fans like Vanessa Huggins, model Karlie Kloss, and Valentina, the breakout star of Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Gordon has won a loyal following among the younger party set, who fearlessly gravitate toward a flocked polka-dotted dress shaped like a tent or strapless mini-dress with puff sleeves.

Part of the Special Series:

PaperCity - On The Runway Spring 2020