By Muhammad Asad Ullah
What is the link between Michelle Obama’s fierce White House State Dinner look, Taylor Swift’s Golden Globe Awards haute pink appearance making headlines and the official photographs of Meghan Markle in a leaf printed chiffon gown in Morocco? They were all seen pulling off Carolina Herrera.
Wes Gordon joined Carolina Herrera as a design partner in 2017 before taking over complete creative control as Creative Director last year and he’s doing quite well when it comes to street style and bridal wear, whilst being utterly faithful to Herrera’s legacy. Aesthetics like his and the uproar they’ve caused by accessible to the vibe on the street is largely responsible for other designers taking it easy and having fun with fashion as luxe gets comfy. High fashion moments, big business and chic in the real sense of the world. This is how the business of fashion is unfolding in NYC this season, and we witnessed it as Wes Gordon at Carolina Herrera sent down his models on the runway for an exclusive showcase at Fifty One East.
Intricate inlay craftsmanship is used to create his striking aesthetics. It’s just there, in his choice of fabric and textures, a myriad influence and how he mixes them all up to bring to the runway, an aesthetic rooted in the west but still paying a nod or two or twenty to what’s happening everywhere else in the world. His bridal wear, such a clean work of art, that was the show-stopper silhouette weaved its usual magic spell, not because the choreography was sharp or the models were walking fine, both being true though, but because the silhouette on display were breathtakingly beautiful — it swayed effortlessly with intricate embroidery work. The rundown featured Herrera’s Spring/Summer 2020 Ready-to-Wear and Bridal Collection.
Inspired by the botanical phenomenon of the Californian super bloom adding texture via velvety polka-dots placed on floating tulle and playing with the proportion on sleeves, Gordon put out clothes as pretty as a picture with not a stitch out of place, understated, frothy and sleek, even if the skirt was billowing. Crisp white shirts just looked sleeked with those printed skirts draped in lilies, verbena and lupine.
The show started with a half-pint print which was soon followed by more giant flowers on a floor-grazing easy-breezy gown and a flirty frock embellished by a belt. Dress up or dress down! The energy dipped somewhat in the middle section of daytime separates in plaids and shirting stripes, but it zoomed back up again with black-and-white polka dots, more super blossoms, voluminous sleeves and off-shoulder gowns and exuberant bows. Gordon could’ve played with the bows a lot more than he did, and for real it could’ve only added well to the collection — but what we noticed was his penchant fondness for the belts and how they create an effortless picture for the dress that could’ve easily be taken down the street for some evening glitzy business.
Clean lines and tailoring with a take on all things classy and a symmetry of shape and colour made Herrera’s a talked about collection of day dresses. Known for sleek wears and designs, sported by celebrities around the world — this collection was all about having fun with fashion while keeping the collection cohesive.
The aesthetic yet effortless shaped wearable collection was goaded by the melding of modern era and street chic sensibility, using the myriad fabrics of silk shantung, organza, linen, taffeta and lace in the bridal wear. Meanwhile, the Herrera’s trademark orange was there in peachy and burnt tones used to devastating affect with a hint of black belt here and a solid block of white there.
Commercially viable pieces? Hugely. Wes understands the market and – he just served right. Nothing too extravagant or nothing out of inch or lines. However, he did adapt to Middle Eastern culture featuring Kaftans with intricate embroidery in delicate tones or solid blocks. Kaftan’s volume was just right – nothing extra, just the perfect cuts. He knows where to stop and make a statement.
The few dresses that couldn’t really live up to the puffery of Herrera’s trademark were the bombing voluminous silhouettes, that were only unstructured with no depth to the overall piece, and one lemon zest cape polka dot dress. That polka had too much happening in the dress all at a time. But speaking for others, were timeless pieces that are created for one simple reason to make women look like a million dollars. The woman should wear the dress, the dress shouldn’t wear the woman. Gordon has pushed himself well and explored dresses with more shape and structure — that could be Herrera’s future for the best.
Here’s kudus to sharp, edgy and fast paced choreography and direction of Mohammed Kabis (Simo). For a flash it was happening so rousingly, we couldn’t even afford to look left or right – but stick to the ramp before we miss out any details.
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