Iconic designer Carolina Herrera’s fresh yet classic lifestyle collection comes to CItyCenterDC.
As an American designer, Carolina Herrera says it was “very important to open a store in our nation’s capital.”
Carolina Herrera is coming to town—and setting up shop. In April the designer’s lifestyle brand, CH Carolina Herrera, opens its 22nd retail location in the country—and 126th worldwide—at CityCenterDC. “It is very exciting,” says Herrera. “As an American designer, I felt that it was very important to open a store in our nation’s capital.”
For Washingtonians looking forward to embracing spring, the bright, warm-weather palette of CH’s latest line is a great place to start. “It’s full of color. It’s charming,” says Herrera. “It’s very sophisticated and young, and the colors are fabulous.” There are plenty of polished black and white looks, but Herrera’s wonderful way with color comes through in cool hues of green, navy, and sky blue and, of course, in CH’s signature red. Flowing silks, silk lace, and structured wool offer light, textured layers. “You can mix and match and do whatever you like. It’s a very modern collection.”
A diffusion line of Carolina Herrera New York, CH offers House of Herrera style at a more modest price point. And unlike Carolina Herrera New York, CH includes offerings for men and children, too. “It’s a complete collection,” she says of CH. “It’s more than just clothes; it’s a lifestyle with a sense of sophistication and femininity.”
Her emphasis on lifestyle mentality may be why Herrera declines to describe her personal style. “I don’t describe myself; I never do,” she says. “It’s very difficult to describe a style…. It’s not only what [a person wears] that describes his or her style. It’s the way you live, the way you arrange your house, and your taste in books and art, and it’s a personal touch you give anything you touch that is different from the others.”
The Venezuelan-born designer says, “The DC woman is active, she is Designer’s Darling Carolina Herrera’s favorite piece from CH’s spring/summer 2015 collection is knee-length and sleeveless. “i love this navy cocktail dress,” Herrera says. “the combination of silk and lace makes it fun and flirty, yet with a sense of elegance.” independent, she is smart and chic, and she likes fashion.” Herrera says she’s had her eye on DC, but waited until a spot in CityCenterDC was open to launch. “It has a lot of great names…. We are going to be in great company there.”
Like many of her new neighbors, Herrera didn’t set out to be a fashion designer. (Kate Spade segued into fashion as a magazine editor; the Hermès family spent decades designing equestrian equipment before venturing into accessories and apparel.) “I never dreamt I was going to be designing anything,” she says. “[As a child] I was much more into other activities—riding horses, playing tennis. [Fashion design] came out later in life.”
When she first caught the creative bug, she thought she’d design beautiful fabrics, but longtime friend and onetime Vogue editor-in-chief Diana Vreeland encouraged her to think bigger. “She gave me the first idea, and I took it immediately. Maybe I had fashion sleeping in me. When I discovered it, I fell in love.” She launched her first collection at 42, with a show at the Metropolitan Club in New York City. “From there on… it has grown so much,” she says. “And I wasn’t expecting it. Because when you do something new in your life, you never [know] where you will arrive.”
Over the years, Herrera has dressed dozens of influential tastemakers, from first ladies to red-carpet regulars. One of her favorites is Renée Zellweger. “She has a very good sense of fashion,” Herrera says. “She knows what she’s wearing, and she knows how to move in what she’s wearing. She’s very special. She never uses a stylist—it’s her and me.”
As creative director of a company that has been around for more than 30 years, Herrera says that “inspiration comes from anything and everything—a book you read, a piece of art, a beautiful landscape, a conversation.” “You must always keep your eyes open,” she insists. “Inspiration is always there, not only for one collection and then you wait six months and you’re inspired by something else. It’s always there.” CH Carolina Herrera opens at CityCenterDC this spring.