The fashion doyenne shares her love for classic style and her thoughts on fashion today. By Cai Mei Khoo.
In Singapore for the Audi Fashion Festival, Carolina Herrera shares her thoughts on fashion
Singapore is cresting a fashion wave right now. Shortly after Karl Lagerfeld staged his Chanel Cruise show on the island republic, Carolina Herrera and her daughter, Carolina Herrera de Báez, opened this year’s Audi Fashion Festival with their Autumn/Winter ’ 13 collections for Carolina Herrera and its secondary line, CH Carolina Herrera. They also opened their CH Carolina Herrera store in Marina Bay Sands. BAZAAR sat down for an exclusive chat with the grand dame of fashion. You’re known for your exceptional personal style. Who or what is your strongest influence? I grew up in a family that was always very well-dressed and liked beautiful things. Fashion to me is about making women more beautiful, not just about experimentation. You must have loved fashion since you were a child, then? In childhood, I was more interested in my horses, really. I used to ride every day and play with my dogs; I only discovered fashion when I grew up. Fashion back then was not like what it is today. Now you get a threeyear-old girl deciding what she wants to wear. My mother or nanny used to tell me what to wear and that was it. There was no discussion about fashion. Your thoughts on fashion now? Fashion is very fascinating and the public is definitely more involved now. Everybody knows, or wants to know, eveything about fashion, which they can do instantly, through the newspapers, Internet, and movies. It’s a movement that’s constantly changing. It’s about newness, even making old things look new. As a designer, how do you bring that newness to your brand? I’m a very curious person. I have a lot of curiosity and imagination, and I think that’s very important in your life. I might take inspiration from the ’20s, ’40s or ’50s, but I make it suitable for today. It’s very important to always keep your eyes open and see what’s going on around you. What’s a constant source of inspiration for you? It can be a book or even a certain colour in a painting. Inspiration is everywhere. And I’m lucky that I have a photographic memory. What made you choose that Forties theme for your Autumn/ Winter ’13 collection? The music for the show. I worked with English composer Tom Hodge on the music, which is an adaptation of a Beethoven concerto. I did it the other way around. Usually you work on the collection first and then get the music to go with it. This time, I heard the music first. When I heard the finished piece in London, I knew exactly what I wanted – some drama, some romance, and some melancholy. I needed to have some hints of
the Forties – a tiny waist and the treatment of the sleeves. When you sit there and listen to the music and look at the collection, there’s a connection. I loved it. Favourite look from the collection? I cannot choose only one. If they’re all there, it’s because I like all of them. Best moment in fashion? The finale of every show. I’m always nervous before the show. What do you love most about your job? The whole concept of it. I love fashion. I think it’s so much fun. And nobody knows what fashion really is; it’s a mystery, it’s magical, it’s something to please your eye. It’s funny when they say fashion is intellectual. It’s not intellectual at all – it’s all about pleasing the eye. Do you plan your outfits? I get dressed in just 10 minutes. You have to feel well in what you’re wearing and not just wear something simply because it’s fashionable to wear it – then you become a fashion victim. You have to be a bit more original and unique. Your pe personal style is best describ described as classic and elegant. l What does elegance mean to you? Elegance is not just what you’re wearing. It’s a combination of so many things – the way you move, the way you think, your taste in books, interiors, and more. It’s not about beauty, either. You may see some beautiful women but they are not elegant at all. Like Elizabeth Taylor, she was the most beautiful woman in the world but she was not elegant. So, elegance is really a combination of many things. It’s something inside of you. If you weren’t a fashion designer, what would you be? I don’t know. I’ve never thought about that. I would be a fashion designer all over again. What keeps you going? My passion for fashion. The creative side of fashion is fabulous.
Carolina Herrera de Báez and Carolina Herrera
The CH Carolina Herrera store at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore
Carolina Herrera Autumn/Winter ’13
Carolina Herrera Autumn/ Winter ’13 Carolina Herrera Autumn/ Winter ’13
The limited edition Embroidered Matryoshka bags