Carolina Herrera (born January 8, 1939) is a Venezuelan-American fashion designer known for "exceptional personal style", and for dressing First Ladies from Jacqueline Onassis to Michelle Obama. The New York Times cited her designs as "elegant and worldly without ever being fussy".
Early and personal life
She was born MarÃa Carolina Josefina Pacanins y NiÃ±o on January 8, 1939, in Caracas, Venezuela, to Guillermo Pacanins Acevedo, an air force officer and former governor of Caracas, and MarÃa Cristina NiÃ±o Passios. Her socialite grandmother introduced her to the world of fashion, taking young Carolina to shows by Balenciaga and buying her outfits at Lanvin and Dior. She has said "My eye was accustomed to see pretty things."
In 1968, in Caracas, she married Reinaldo Herrera Guevara, who had inherited the Spanish title The 5th MarquÃ©s of Torre Casa in 1962 upon his father's death. Reinaldo was the host of Buenos DÃas, a Venezuelan morning-television news program and the elder son of Reinaldo Herrera Uslar, a prominent Venezuelan sugarcane plantation owner and art collector. Therefore by marriage, Carolina held the title The Marquise consort of Torre Casa, until it was retracted in 1992, as Reinaldo had issued no son. Her husband is a special-projects editor of Vanity Fair magazine, and they have two daughters, Carolina Adriana and Patricia Cristina, and six grandchildren.
In 2009, Herrera became a naturalized United States citizen.
Career and brand
Frequently associating with Mick and Bianca Jagger and Andy Warhol, at Studio 54, she became well known for her dramatic style. She first appeared on the International Best Dressed List in 1972, then was elected to its Hall of Fame in 1980. In 1981, her friend Diana Vreeland, then Editor-in-Chief of Vogue suggested that Carolina design a clothing line. She did so, having samples made in Caracas, and debuted her collection at Manhattan's Metropolitan Club to critical acclaim. A well known Park Avenue boutique, Martha's, agreed to showcase her clothing in their prominent windows. Upon this initial success, she returned to Caracas and raised capital to fund a more formal launch. Her first runway show in 1980 included future supermodel Iman. Carolina Herrera presents her Ready-to-Wear Collection semiannually at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.
The company has been based in New York City since 1980, and in 1981 the brand received recognition from several key publications, including Women's Wear Daily and Tatler, with particular early attention to her well designed sleeves. A few of her most notable clients have included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who asked her to design the dress for her daughter Caroline's wedding, Duchess Diana de Melo, and actress RenÃ©e Zellweger.
In the late 1980s, Spanish fragrance company Puig licensed the Carolina Herrera name to develop and market a line of perfumes. In 1995, the firm acquired the Carolina Herrera fashion business, retaining her as Creative Director. In 2008, they launched a ready-to-wear brand called CH Carolina Herrera; as of 2012, there are 18 Carolina Herrera and CH Carolina Herrera boutiques in the world, and her lines are carried in 280 stores in 104 countries. As of 2011, her daughters Carolina Jr. and Patricia Lansing participate in the creative direction and design.
In 2015, the first advert for the brand was released, featuring models Elisabeth Erm and Josephine Le Tutour.
Awards and achievements
In 2008, she was awarded the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and "Womenswear Designer of the Year" in 2004. Herrera is a recipient of The International Center in New York's Award of Excellence as well as Spain's Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts, which was presented to her in 2002 by King Don Juan Carlos I. She was awarded the Gold Medal of the Queen SofÃa Spanish Institute in 1997.
She received the Fashion Group International Superstar Award, the Style Awards Designer of the Year in 2012 and the "Mercedes-Benz Presents" title for her 2011 collection. She has been on the cover of Vogue seven times.
Since 2004, she has been a member of the board of directors of jewelry designer Mimi So, and since 1999 on the board of the CFDA.
In 2014, she earned the 2014 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion.
- Carolina Herrera Spring 2014 Ready-to-Wear Collection
- Carolina Herrera