Carolina Herrera finds royal drama, opulence at NYFW

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Fashion from Carolina Herrera's latest collection is modeled during Fashion Week, Monday Feb. 13, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

NEW YORK – Carolina Herrera is a brand synonymous with elegance and class and in this year's fall/winter debut, the brand pushed the boundaries on high drama, romance and grandeur — while also showing restraint when necessary.

In the shimmering, grand Plaza Hotel ballroom in New York on Monday, creative director Wes Gordon debuted a collection inspired by themes of elegance and opulence.

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The show opened with “I Say a Little Prayer for You,” and a whole slew of romantic songs served as a backdrop for the opening dress — a strapless structured satin black and white mini dress, signifying a regal and straightforward yet elevated look.

Gordon's signature Herrera aesthetic was on display in a yellow tulle dress with a tiered skirt that bounced as the model strutted down the ballroom. Another look that bought drama and intrigue was yet again a tiered black and white tulle dress — some of the nylon tulle covered the model's face, giving mystery to the look.

Some of the most gasp-worthy looks were inspired by Empress Elisabeth of Austria, recently given a modern edge in the film “Corsage.” One model wore a chunky pearl necklace with a buttoned-down black silk full-length dress featuring gold embroidery. Another look featured a square-necked Cinderella dress in lilac satin with a peek of black tulle and matching lilac pumps.

“I wanted to develop pieces that were emotional — fabrics that you wanted to touch and really challenge the mills that we work with to come up with something extraordinary,” Gordon said.

Celebrities in attendance at the show were Kelsea Ballerini, Rachel Zoe, Maddie Ziegler and Julianne Hough. Also in attendance at the front row was the creator of the brand, Carolina Herrera herself, and Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour.

Gordon delivered a multitude of looks that ranged from embroidered hot pink mini dresses to oversized color-blocked dresses with big peplums and chunky belts. The line also featured a plethora of floral and striped printed dresses — all playing with neckline silhouettes, sleeves and length.

The brightness of the colors in the show really was necessary to put the joy back into the world, Gordon said. The brand just recently pledged that it would match all donations given to the Red Cross through its Heart for Hope program until next week to aid in the aftermath of the earthquake that recently devastated Turkey and Syria.

“Even though we've been made numb almost by seeing a bombardment of just horrible things over the past decade, these are just beyond belief — so heartbreaking," Gordon said. “It's a moment that all of us around the world need to come together to do whatever we can to help.”

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