What would Carolina Herrera pick from a store with designs from Wes Gorson?
She took some time to embrace my designs, but now she’s actively seeking them out. We’re always curious about her shopping preferences and what she’s looking for when she goes shopping. It can be challenging to walk into a store with your name on it, but the products no longer your work. It’s always intriguing to see what catches her eye. For instance, I created costumes for the New York Ballet, and on the launch night, she chose to wear a stunning color block dress I designed.
How has the brand changed with you?
In America, there are very few enduring legacies left, and Herrera stands as a global brand that has painstakingly crafted its reputation over four decades. When I entered the picture, I didn’t come with a mandate to demolish everything and start from scratch. Instead, my approach was one of refinement, adjustment, and a quest to identify the elements I cherish the most. It was about bringing Herrera into the contemporary and future realms while ensuring that women who’ve adorned Herrera for the past 40 years could continue to find pieces that resonated with them.
Stepping into this role as a 30-year-old man, I recognized the stark differences between myself and Mrs. Herrera. My initial vision for the brand was centered on injecting more vibrancy, more celebration. After all, this is a brand founded by one of the most glamorous women in history. She journeyed from Venezuela to New York, counted Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat among her closest friends, and her life was brimming with incredible stories. I believed that the enchantment of her legacy needed to permeate the brand, and I expressed this through the infusion of colors, prints, and an infectious energy. This has been the overarching theme of my seasons with Herrera.
How does the unique cultural and fashion landscape of Dubai influence you?
“Dubai is a city where women embrace dressing up as an art of self-expression, and it’s a place where courage and creativity flourish. Embrace your boldness and have fun with your wardrobe. In this vibrant atmosphere, we encourage you to seek the fabulous, be daring, and celebrate the unique. You’re anything but ordinary, and that’s precisely the kind of woman I envision for Herrera.
How do you measure success and how have you evolved with the brand?
I gauge success not by the number of celebrities adorned in our designs but by the countless everyday women who choose to wear our creations. Celebrities are undoubtedly enjoyable, but this is a different kind of satisfaction. It signifies that, amid a vast sea of options, whether online or in-store, you deliberately selected our specific pieces. That holds profound meaning for me.
Moreover, it grants me valuable insights into the identities of our customers and their true desires. I am relentlessly driven to understand what captures her heart. For a substantial period, we were a brand associated with special occasion attire, a destination for women seeking that one perfect piece. Now, we’re transforming into a brand that can turn any moment into a special occasion. This, to me, is the transformative power of clothing, and I take immense pride in contributing to a brand that aspires to create such moments.
Dubai fashion week attracts a diverse and International audience, how does Carolina Herrera cater to this audience?
Herrera stands as a worldwide enterprise, encompassing diverse offerings ranging from clothing and perfumes to accessories and beyond. These multifaceted aspects of the Herrera family converge to convey a commitment to exquisite elegance and the celebration of a beautiful life. It’s noteworthy that all these elements have resonated profoundly in the region.
While the brand’s historical image was characterized by a formal demeanor, today, we are witnessing a refreshing transformation toward a more youthful and lively persona. I am genuinely thrilled about this opportunity and the brand’s rejuvenated introduction to the world.
Dubai fashion week hosts a lot of emerging designers in a rapidly evolving and highly competitive industry, what advice would you give to emerging designers looking to make it in the field?
Success requires both enduring determination and inner strength. It hinges on the capacity for self-honesty. I’d like to share these insights from two distinct angles. Firstly, it demands a unique point of distinction – the ability to identify that singular thing you do, express, or create that sets you apart from the crowd. Once identified, the key is to wholeheartedly focus on developing and nurturing it. You don’t have to cover every category; instead, if you excel in creating extraordinary knitwear, for example, immerse yourself entirely in that realm, mastering it and making it your signature.
Secondly, it’s essential to redefine your perception of success and failure. I wholeheartedly believe that there are no inherently negative experiences. During times when businesses face challenges or hardships, these are moments to seize as opportunities for reflection. It’s a chance to reassess not only what you do but also who you are. Every experience, even those that appear unfavorable, contributes to your overall journey of progress and forward momentum.
What’s your favourite part from your newly launched book ‘Color Mania’?
The pandemic marked the beginning of this journey when our work continued, but traditional fashion shows became unfeasible. We found ourselves compelled to forge new avenues for storytelling and connection. In the midst of this, I engaged in a conversation with photographer Elizaveta Porodina. Together, we embarked on a project to document various pieces from my work at Herrera, with a particular focus on the captivating allure of color.
Our collaborative vision extended to celebrating the talents of five diverse dancers from different corners of the world. We sent them dresses from our collection, and Elizaveta ingeniously captured their grace and beauty through the lens of a Zoom camera.
What can you tell us ahead of the presentation today in Dubai Fashion Week?
We’re excited to showcase nearly our entire Spring runway collection from New York, along with a few playful additions. The models will be positioned on pedestals within a vibrant pink-themed room, creating a lively and whimsical atmosphere. Our goal is to immerse viewers in a visual spectacle of unique and captivating clothing. Among the pieces, there are some that I hope will elicit the desire in women to say, “I want that and that.” While they may be unconventional and imaginative, they remain at their core, strikingly beautiful in their own right, comprising a total of 50 exquisite looks.