A modern take on the classic white shirt at Carolina Herrera

The Carolina Herrera collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Wes Gordon, who took the reins a year ago as creative director at Carolina Herrera, presented a strikingly contemporary collection, including a floor-length version of his predecessor's beloved white shirt.

NEW YORK — When the last model walked down the Carolina Herrera runway in a floor-length, billowing gown that looked like a huge white shirt, it was a playful nod in two ways.

First, it was a take on the tradition of ending a fashion show with a bridal gown. And second, it was a nod by designer Wes Gordon to his predecessor and her famous love for a crisp white shirt.

"That was white shirting," Gordon explained after Monday's show amid the elegant portraits and stained-glass windows of the New York Historical Society, the city's oldest museum. "A shirt that we stretched and exaggerated and expanded into a huge gown. So (we were) really playing with that house code a little bit."

White shirts aside, Gordon, who succeeded Herrera as creative director a year ago, was mainly interested in color this season. Lots of color, including bold oranges and blues, and a yellow not for the faint-hearted that Gordon calls "taxi-cab yellow."

"I love color, and the starting point was to build a beautiful palette that we could work with this season," Gordon said backstage. And he was thinking about flowers, too, specifically the floral still-lifes of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, whom Gordon calls "an indelible figure to the Herrera story," for his portraits of the Venezuelan-born designer, who remains the company's brand ambassador.

Thus, Gordon explained, one pink dress was designed to look "like an orchid unraveling" as the model walked the runway.

There were certainly some looks — big, loose silhouettes in eye-popping colors, including a large anorak — that didn't quite square with the very refined ethos of the label from past years. Gordon said there was a natural evolution into bolder and more relaxed looks.

"Herrera has always stood for elegance, and my message now is that elegance doesn't have to be uptight, elegance doesn't have to be formal, elegance doesn't have to be too serious," he said. "Elegance can have laughter, elegance can have joy, elegance can be bright orange, elegance can be a micromini, it can be a huge billowy floating gown, and it can be modern and young, too."

Gordon said he's spent the last year traveling around the world meeting customers, speaking to "real women and learning how they wear the clothes, where they wear the clothes."

He said that for him, the ideal customer "doesn't keep her favorite china for some special occasion. She uses it for breakfast just by herself. And she doesn't set aside a garment waiting for a day in the future to wear it, keeping it wrapped in tissue paper."

___

AP video journalist Jill Dobson contributed to this report.

Related News

Kanye West performs at New York Fashion Week party

Sep 10, 2016

Kanye West brought his "Saint Pablo Tour" to the small stage at a New York Fashion Week party, where he performed under smoky, dark lights, and ended his set with some outspoken words, per usual

Alexander Wang presents adidas Originals unisex line

Sep 11, 2016

Alexander Wang sent an army of 70 models onto the runway _ all in black _ to announce his new collaboration with adidas Originals, a unisex apparel and footwear line

Alexander Wang partners with adidas Originals on new line

Sep 11, 2016

Designer (and sneaker lover) Alexander Wang has partnered with adidas Originals on a new line of unisex apparel and footwear

Lookout Style, your personal trendy diary, keeping you in check with all things new for automobiles and content to assist your fashionable sense.

Automobile Design Automobile Shows Car Buying Beauty & Fashion Body Piercings Elective Cosmetic Procedures Children's Fashion Couture Fashion Accessories Fashion Magazines Fashion Shows Men's Fashion Personal Style Sustainable Fashion Women's Fashion Press Releases