Hudson Yards’ Showcase Shed Becomes a Colorful Playground for Carolina Herrera’s Change Maker

Wes Gordon Embraces a Grand Stage

BY // 02.24.20

NEW YORK —  Since taking the top job as creative director at Carolina Herrera two years ago, Wes Gordon has worked to maintain the romantic elegance of the brand while freshening it up with a youthful spirit.

To do that, he has focused on bold colors and dramatic volume, without regard to what fashion season it is. Although the line is increasingly blurring, most fashion houses show distinct collections that tend to differ in colors (lighter and brighter for spring/summer and darker and richer for fall/winter) and fabric texture (heavier for fall/winter and more featherweight for spring/summer) depending on the season.

But the Herrera fall ’20 collection could just as easily be shown for spring/summer, with hyper-saturated colors, clean lines and lightweight-looking fabrics. “Grand mimimalism” is the way Gordon sums it up.

Indeed, there’s a minimal, almost monastic, quality to a long sleeve black A-line dress and several robe-like high-necked dresses while simple silhouettes are enhanced in grand colors — a ruffle dress in clementine orange, a double face cape in cadmium red, and a tiered gown in canary yellow.

Even a simple white blouse — a Carolina Herrera staple popularized by the founder —  is jazzed up with a flowing “Nautilus navy” crepe corset overlay.

Prints aren’t as pronounced as in Gordon’s previous efforts for Herrera, although ruffled dresses in a bold yellow-and-black floral design and a pantsuit in a fuchsia floral pattern are interspersed among the monochromatic designs. An off-the-shoulder black-and-white gown emblazoned with the outline of a rose in jet beading most approximates the grandeur of the Herrera legacy.

Gordon said he was inspired by how the 16th-century Spanish artist Francisco de Zurbarán used color to achieve impact and drama. The designer’s obsession with surprising color combinations is evident in a tiered floor-length gown in a swirled pattern of aquamarine blue and clementine orange and in a frothy pale celestial blue ruffle blouse paired with a deeper cornflower blue tapered skirt.

The riot of color stood out amid the surroundings of  The Shed at Hudson Yards, in a glass-enclosed room covered in white carpet as models walked in a huge circle, past front row guests that include the label’s founder, Carolina Herrera, fashion giant André Leon Talley, theater producer Jordan Roth, and actresses Dove Cameron and Zosia Mamet. (The Shed is being touted as the new home for New York Fashion Week next season.)

Carolina Herrera FW20 038
Carolina Herrera cornflower blue and two-tiered floor-length skirt, clementine orange jacquard T-shirt, cornflower blue and clementine orange floral jacquard buckle belt. (Photo courtesy of Carolina Herrera)

The collection was unveiled just as Carolina Herrera introduced a new line of cosmetics, which the models wore sparingly during the runway show.

The brand’s first foray into makeup includes 36 shades of lipsticks and eight shades of powder in packaging that is meant to resemble jewelry, with interchangeable compact covers and pendant-shaped lipsticks on magnetic attachable key rings decorated with tassels and beetle charms that are intended to be kept and displayed. As a child, beauty director Carolina A. Herrera’s nickname was “Coleoptero,” which translates to “beetle” in Spanish.

Gordon worked with Carolina A. Herrera, the daughter of Carolina Herrera, to incorporate iconic fabric prints from the fashion brand’s archives in the cosmetic packaging design.

“Because fashion was the starting point, we started to imagine the line as a collection of ready-to-wear pieces rather than traditional keep-it-on-your-vanity or hidden-inside-your-purse makeup,” Gordon tells Womens Wear Daily. “Mrs. Herrera is a big fan of vintage jewelry and has the most amazing collection, so that in part sparked the idea of mimicking precious objects for the design. We wanted each product to double up as something eye-catching that you could wear and have a conversation piece at the same time.”

The cosmetics line is set to debut in mid-March.

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