Year Founded: 1981
Headquarters: New York, NY
Company Website: carolinaherrera.com
A PASSION FOR FASHION
Born in Caracas Venezuela, on January 8, 1939, Carolina Herrera is the daughter of a former governor of Caracas Guillermo Pacanins Acevedo and his wife María Cristina Niño Passios. Although as a young girl Carolina was more interested in tennis, riding horses, and playing with her dogs, her passion for fashion was slowly developing. It grew with the help of her socialite grandmother who would purchase her outfits from Lavin and Dior and invited her to attend her first Balenciaga fashion show in Paris at age thirteen.
By sixteen Carolina was stylishly dressing for dances and had designed her first dress. It was an elegant black one that she created from inspiration reflected from some of her interests; the book, “War and Peace”, Giovanni Boldini’s paintings of tastefully dressed women, and the style and elegance actress Greta Garbo exuded. Unfortunately, Carolina would never get to wear the dress she designed for herself because her parents would never allow it.
Carolina’s fashion career did not start there because just two years later she became a young bride when she married Guillermo Behrens Tello. Together they had two daughters. Divorced a few years later, she soon remarried Reinaldo Herrera Guevara and they had two daughters, Carolina Adriana and Patricia Christina, who went on to be part of the company.
In 1980, Herrera and her husband settled in New York. This is when she decided she wanted to design again, however it was fabrics, not dresses. Her friend Diana Vreeland, then editor of Vogue, suggested she go beyond that and attempt fashion design.
Focused on designs that were feminine and elegant, she was driven to help women know what would look good on them, finding inspiration in art and the things around her, while using curiosity to cultivate more design ideas. Her signature dresses were originally based on white blouses paired with ball gown skirts. Those classic looks have grown over the decades to become more elegant in style. She now offers things in fashion for women and men, including fragrances, shoes, and accessories. With such beautiful and glamorous styles, she has received many awards including one in 2004 from the Council of Fashion Designers of America “Women’s Wear Designer of the year” and the Glamour “Woman of the Year Award”. In 2014 The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York presented her with an award of honor.
She has become a global success in luxury fashion. Carolina Herrera is in fifty countries including France. Her line began in 1981, however her first boutique did not open until 2000. By 2001 she was offering new collections, ones of style and elegance but with practicality, such as the Lifestyle Collection. She believes that a woman should feel both beautiful and mysterious and feel glamorous but comfortable with themselves through fashion no matter what they are doing.
BEST KNOWN FOR
Bella’s wedding gown when she married Edward in Twilight: Breaking Dawn 1 the movie. Designs for First Ladies of the United States: Michelle Obama, Jacqueline Onassis, Laura Bush and Jackie Kennedy. Also, Jackie Kennedy’s daughter (Caroline Kennedy’s) wedding dress. As of the most recent, her designs have been worn on the red carpet on Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis, and Jessica Alba at the 94th Academy Awards Ceremony and the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. Some might recall when Renée Zellweger received Best Supporting Actress Emmy, she was wearing a white dress designed by Carolina Herrera.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, she partnered with Barbie and acclaimed producer Shonda Rhimes to help create a one-of-a-kind Barbie doll. For this Shonda chose for her doll to wear a Carolina Herrera Heart Knit Sweater and Rainbow Taffeta skirt from the Fall Winter 2021 collection designed by Wes Gordon, inspired by her ‘Show Woman of the Year’ Cover.
Several of Carolina Herrera handbags have made their mark in the history of fashion. The Matryoshka is crafted in the house’s signature supple Baobab leather at the atelier in Spain. The Andy bag, named after her friend Andy Warhol, is noted for its construction: each piece is assembled by hand to achieve the recognizable rounded shape. The meticulous process of creating each Initials Insignia bag – takes eleven hours and twenty people to make. Its clasp is inspired by the Insignia bracelet that is Carolina’s initials, C H. Her bags have become part of the wardrobes of the Duchess of Sussex, Hailey Bieber, Alessandra de Osma, Kate Moss, Beyoncé and Amal Clooney. Carolina’s bags have even made it to royalty when Meghan Markle appeared leaving her New York baby shower with one of the designer’s carryalls.
In support of Covid-19 relief efforts worldwide in 2020, Carolina Herrera created the Heart for Hope charitable initiative which donated ten percent of the proceeds from sales of their accessories in-store and online to the Red Cross and the Red Crescent.
On her website, bags have a price range of $765 to $990. Her CH site that is based on Initials Insignia – the styles range from formal to casual and prices range from $540.00 to $4,465.00, with endless designs and colors. There are multiple accessories for the bags that offer buyers additional ways to personalize, adding more style to their bag.
• Carolina Herrera’s first name is pronounced “Karr-uh-lee-nuh” but is often pronounced Carolina because of how we say the name in the United States.
• Carolina’s birthname was María Carolina Josefina Pacanins y Niño.
• Herrera believes that Queen Elizabeth is a fashion icon.
• Herrera did not become a U.S. citizen until 29 years after moving to New York City.