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Carolina Herrera in the Hothouse

Designer Wes Gordon ignored autumnal conventions, showing bright colours and plenty of florals with impressive gusto.
By
  • Lauren Sherman

NEW YORK, United States — If this New York Fashion Week is about rule-breaking as a survival tool, Wes Gordon's rebellion sure looks different than the others.

The Carolina Herrera creative director, installed in his post for almost a year now, staged a conventional runway show in a conventional venue — the dignified New York Historical Society overlooking Central Park West. But he gave a very polite middle finger to the idea of what "fall clothes" should be.

“We’re not a basics brand, we’re not a utilitarian brand. We’re an emotional brand,” he said at a studio preview. “I’ve always been more excited for Spring and Resort here because the colours make me happy. There’s no reason that can’t be who we are year-round.”

After all, the product does ship in July. And Gordon’s customer, who is buying glam dresses for social outings, could very well live in or be traveling to a climate where one-shoulder mini dresses make sense all year long. So he worked in “taxi cab” yellow, cerulean blue and shades of poppies, keeping the prints to a minimal and the silhouettes exaggerated.

The suiting was mostly a miss; the cut-out on the waist of a few blazers felt too harsh for such an airy collection. Where Gordon really excelled was in taffeta, tying a hot-pink cummerbund tied like a floppy bow around the waist of a black trouser and taping the inside hems with contrasting colours.

There were upside-down tulip ball skirts in the tradition of that Raf Simons-for-Jil Sander collection, but they felt more "inspired by" than a flat-out copy. And there were also plenty of Herrera-isms, including a long white dressing gown that served as an exaggerated version of the designer's favourite shirt. (Sitting in the audience today, though, she chose a more subdued glen-plaid dress and matching blazer.) For the fairytale moment, a pale pink tulle one-shoulder number, slashed with a shot of hot orange, did the dreamy trick.

As for those who are looking for something to keep warm during the winter months, Gordon's coats, included a black proposition with a sash draped across the front, and an a-line style in flamingo pink, were plenty "fab," as he put it. Fab, indeed. And maybe that's all it needs to be.

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