For the better part of two years, parties were called off and grand plans were canceled. At Carolina Herrera, Wes Gordon is recalibrating for a world that’s getting back its joie de vivre. For resort, he imagined a trip to the Riviera—think ’90s supermodels shot by Helmut Newton and Grace Kelly in To Catch a Thief. “It’s the fantasy of escapism made reality,” he said at a showroom appointment.
But the experience of the pandemic has impacted his design approach. The best pieces in this new collection emphasize approachability and ease. The cherry print dresses? Whether they’re off-the-shoulder and full-skirted or asymmetrical and hourglass, he cut them in cotton. Ditto the sundress and shirtdress in blue-and-white banker stripes. “It’s softer,” he said. “We took the crinoline out.”
Pinstripe suiting, in turn, has been given a flirty makeover. There’s a nipped waist coat dress and a sexy twisted strap bustier top worn with matching pants. These pieces aren’t headed to a board meeting any time soon, but definitely a cocktail party or a Cannes premiere, speaking of the Riviera. The classic white cotton shirt, a Carolina Herrera signature, got a rethink of its own, with dramatic cowls-cum-hoods. (The extravagant hats are by the Parisian milliner Laurence Bossion.)
Crinoline hasn’t entirely left the picture. He dressed his Met Gala date, actress Tessa Thompson, in clouds of baby pink tulle. Here, he added a bustle of black net to the back of a fitted coat dress, and cut a strapless party dress with a celebrity-length double train.