Carolina Herrera or Carihanna Herrera?
Three months ago Wes Gordon, the designer of Carolina Herrera, received a critical lambasting for alleged cultural appropriation. After his latest show for the house in a mock glass house on Battery Park, he may have to brace himself for a second round of battering.
Gordon was specifically called out for what many viewed as the copying of indigenous designs from Mexico in his 2020 cruise collection for Herrera. Mexico’s culture minister Alejandra Frausto even wrote to the house demanding an explanation.
Expect this Spring/Summer 2020 collection to potentially illicit further reactions on social media. Those familiar with the debut of Rihanna's Fenty label last May in Paris, will recall her signature oversized silhouettes – with front piping, stitching and mutton-leg sleeves. Which was not entirely unlike the blue summer beach-stripe beefed-up capes and boleros that Gordon sent out on this balmy morning in Manhattan.
So maybe we should call this collection Carihanna Herrera?
That said, this was an otherwise pretty competent display by Gordon, in his latest collection for the house since taking the reins last year.
One could only applaud a great series of kicky polka-dot dresses, which came in a whole series of scales, whether mega, as in a supremely well-cut mini cocktail with a huge bow, and a semi-sheer column; or micro, in a delightful babydoll dress.
Gordon is also an imaginative, if erratic, printmaker; most successfully in his opening of bold expressionist abstract florals, seen in billowing pants and overlong skirts – all paired with the signature crisp, white poplin shirt of the house’s founder, who sat front row at the show.
Her successor is also an accomplished draper, who has carefully managed to reduce the target age of the house’s audience each season – as was apparent by the youthful crowd at this latest show.
However, one will be intrigued to know what a certain young lady from Barbados will think of the collection when she sees it. Then again, imitation is the greatest form of flattery – and nowhere more so than in fashion.
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