Venezuelan fashion designer known for dressing American first ladies
"Carolina Herrera is a Venezuelan fashion designer known for "exceptional personal style", and for dressing various First Ladies, including Jacqueline Onassis, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, and Melania Trump.
In 1965, Herrera began her career working as a publicist for Emilio Pucci, a Florentine Marquis himself and a close family friend. She began working at Pucci's Caracas boutique, and moved to New York in 1980. 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, Diana, Duchess of Cadaval, who asked her to design the dress for her marriage with Prince Charles-Philippe of Orléans, Duke of Anjou, and actress Renée 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 were 18 Carolina Herrera and CH Carolina Herrera boutiques in the world, and her lines were carried in 280 stores in 104 countries. As of 2011, her daughters Carolina Jr. and Patricia Lansing participated in the creative direction and design. In February 2016, it was reported by WWD that the fragrance side of the business had more than 25,000 points of sale across the globe while the CH brand included 129 freestanding stores…
In 2018 Herrera showedd her last line for her eponymous brand and handed creative directorship of the brand over to Wes Gordon.
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 Juan Carlos I. She was awarded the Gold Medal of the Queen Sofía 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." (1)