When Diana Vreeland took Carolina Herrera under her wing, she helped the young Venezuelan-born jetsetter and socialite turn into a full-fledged fashion designer. Originally, Herrera had planned to become a materials designer, but Vreeland advised against that and encouraged the fledgling creative to go into womenswear instead. Herrera now helms a vast empire, but she built it on the foundation of innovative materials, essentially marrying the two dreams together. Over the years, her feminine collections have been filled with cool, technical marvels, but never have they been more beautiful than for Spring/Summer 2016.
At the root of Herrera’s experimental design techniques this season was a creative study of negative space. This trend is subtly on the rise at New York Fashion Week (usually carried out by cutout details), but no one has so effortlessly fused sensual creations with so much futurism. Herrera’s version featured trompe l’oeil pleats floating over sheer fabric, which from afar looked like stripes, but from up close were an innovative approach to geometrical sculpting. Delicate slices rather than big cutouts wove orderly tributaries through her garments. The effect was stunning, crisp, and remarkably fresh. For instance, a quarter of the way through the show, an oversized white blouse highlighted Herrera’s mind-blowing construction, which turned ventilated flaps into horizontal stripes. Take away the kicky accordion-pleated skirt it was paired with and replace it with black leather culottes and you’d have a look that the street style crowd would go bananas for.
In addition to the trompe l’oeil technique, Herrera also rendered beautiful technical meshes into uber-feminine, dressy separates and frocks, which reflected a cool fusion of present and future styles. The designer declared this work part of her “rose period”, and delivered blossom hues aplenty. Fresh budding flowers were felt on the feathery wisps that sprouted from two-piece looks, delicate appliqués that dotted sheath dresses, and millefeuilles of layered pleating in altering shades of pink. With arabesque poise, effervescent sheer dresses floated down the runway, offering dreamy looks that made us feel like we were looking at it all through rose-tinted glasses.
Photos: Courtesy of Imaxtree