Over the last several seasons, many designers have touched on the topic of “getting out and going away” — Carolina Herrera’s creative director Wes Gordon is one of them.
“This season is a little more focused and targeted — it’s no longer a question of, ‘I just want to go out,’ but, ‘Where do I want to go?’” he said during the Elizabeth Street Garden and Gallery-set preview of his resort collection, which was purposely chosen not only to resemble the collection’s “journey under the Mediterranean sun,” but to also bring attention to the public green space — which is at risk of being destroyed and redeveloped — through his images.
“This season is a trip to the Cote d’Azur — the French Riviera. It draws references and pays homage to all the amazing iconography from the region — whether it’s Helmut Newton or ‘90s supermodels or Grace Kelly in ‘To Catch a Thief.’ It’s warm, sunshine-filled, glamorous and beautiful.”
His collection was equal parts drama and glamour, which he called “high octane glamour.”
“But with a heavy dose of cottons, short hems and a real sensibility. There’s a moment right now about high octane glamour, and Herrera is that,” he added.
One could easily imagine Gordon’s daywear, as in a pin-striped, balloon-sleeved cotton shirt cinched into a button-front leopard skirt with a wide waist belt, traipsing along the Riviera. Or perhaps his poppy- and cherry-emblazoned, colorful feminine frocks (ranging from slinky slips to midi dresses and minidresses with varying sleeve details) and mix-and-match daywear; Saint Tropez-inspired mixed tweed miniskirt, bustier and jacket sets, and coated cotton trenchcoats. Mrs. Herrera’s signature white shirt was reinvigorated in two ways — a tuxedo bib top with silk flower decoration for day, and a sweeping ballgown for night.
Nautically striped wide-brimmed hats (by Parisian milliner Laurence Bossion), chunky jewelry, oversize eyewear, matching CH Carolina Herrera slip-on mules and pumps, and vibrant pink and red Carolina Herrera Beauty lipstick enhanced the ‘90s Riviera sensibility with touches of playfulness and ample polish.
For evening, the designer channeled the spirit of a Cannes red carpet, offering plenty of streamlined silhouettes with an ode to runways of the ‘90’s. For instance, a dramatic hot pink and red strapless number with high leg slit and voluminous faille train (or a similarly saturated mini with a long, tulle train), large-scale poppy emblazoned billowing silk satin organza gowns and evening skirts (great with oversize shawls), plenty of simmering shakers (with floral paillettes and embroideries, or in metallic sheen liquid lurex) and many more sophisticated, dramatic ensembles.
The Herrera woman loves to dress up, and there was plenty to do so in (Gordon noted the entire collection totaled 90-some looks). With such a large collection, the question of potentially holding a runway show for the resort season naturally emerged.
“I would love to,” Gordon said, later adding, “It’s such an important season — gone are the days of thinking of it as commercial fillers. We hold ourselves to a standard as high as main collection runway shows. And coming out of the pandemic, I think there’s a sense you want to make sure everything you make is special and fabulous.”