Long before socialite Alexa Chung created her eponymous fashion label or Hollywood twin stars Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen launched their own brand The Row, Carolina Herrera had already used her exposure to discriminating style to build a globally-recognized fashion house.
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Carolina Herrera is known in the fashion world for her elegant yet modern style from a very young age. The designer credited her grandmother for her impeccable taste, showing her to different cultures and international fashion as a little girl.
It was her dear grandma who brought Herrera to Cristóbal Balenciaga couture shows and bought her outfits from luxury fashion houses Lanvin and Dior.
Famously quoted for the experience, Herrera has therefore always believed that her eye “was accustomed to see beautiful things.”
Herrera’s career in fashion, however, began as a publicist for Italian designer Emilio Pucci, but due to her impeccable style, Europe’s high society took notice how she dressed. By 1972, she had appeared in the prestigious International Best Dressed List and was elected to its Hall of Fame in 1980.
With Herrera’s innate style coupled with influence from equally creative friends like Andy Warhol, creating her own brand was inevitable. But before diving head first into designing dresses for today’s women, Herrera initially wanted to design fabrics.
Thankfully, for her loyal client, legendary Vogue editor Diana Vreeland, influenced her to create a line instead. And so in 1981, Herrera debuted her first collection at the Metropolitan Club in New York.
From then on, patrons lf the brand had drawb the world’s fashionable ladies—from US First Ladies Jacqueline Kennedy, Michelle Obama and now Melania Trump, to Hollywood A-listers Emmy Rossum, Olivia Munn, Mila Kunis, Camilla Belle, Olivia Palermo and Jessica Alba.
Herrera also branched out from elegant runway looks to accessible fashion through CH Carolina Herrera, a lifestyle collection featuring ready-to-wear designs and accessories for men, women and children. The first store opened in Madrid, Spain in 2001.
Through all these, Herrera was able to create a brand that exudes elegance and integrity with a fashion-forward vision.
“I love the idea of elegance and intricacy, but whether it’s in a piece of clothing or a fragrance, the intricacy must appear as simplicity,” says Herrera, who made the ubiquitous white shirt the icon that it is today.
Besides the crisp white shirt, the designer was also able to create trademarks for her brands: the colors red, white and black, which she loved for their versatility; m lace, which she believes stands for elegance; and polka dot prints polka dots, which is her ode to her childhood.
Overall, these trademarks are utilized to create seasonal collections that modern women can wear from morning to night, without any fuss.
“I have a responsibility to the women of today, to make her feel confident, modern, and above all else, beautiful,” she says.
Today, the Carolina Herrera lifestyle brand is present in over 178 exclusive stores and more than 250 shop-in-shops acorss Europe, United States, Latin America, Middle East and Asia.
Its latest store, the 15th in Asia, opened in the Philippines this month. The first stand allne boutique in the country, Carolina Herrera Philipines is located at the ground floor of Greenbelt 5 in Makati.