My Visit to the House of Herrera
03 . 27 . 14
When I walking to Bergdorf Goodman in a snowstorm in 2004 to have Mrs. Herrera sign a copy of her book Carolina Herrera for me, never in my wildest dreams could I ever imagine I would be giving her a signed copy of my book ten years alter. But that’s exactly what happened today when I stopped by the House of Herrera showroom to view the spring 2014 Herrera Archive II collection.
Archives II consists of six archival prints that I found out are some of Mrs. Herrera’s favorites which have been reworked into light cotton fabrics and effortless spring silhouettes at a more affordable price point. After the winter we’ve had, seeing them all together in the beautiful light filled showroom was truly a breath of fresh air. They will be available in stores next week but the reaction has been so enthusiastic that I have a feeling they will be blowing out of stores so get there early.
I feel terrible for cutting Mrs. Herrera’s arm off in this photo but her smile was so lovely that I had to include it anyway. She does not email but sends many handwritten notes so the Love Letters print is dear to her heart.
As soon as I saw the printed backdrop, I asked if they were going to be offering fabric by the yard and wallpaper next. So many other visitors to the showroom have asked the same question that I hope I home collection will be in the works soon.
The Swimming Ladies is a favorite of her daughter Patricia Lansing who wore a dress with this print during her pregnancy. The inspiration was taken from her many family trips to Punta Cana “where time just floats by with sun, sand, and sea.”
The Swimming Ladies skirt is my favorite piece in the collection.
More Swimming Ladies.
The toile print in the middle is called Marilyn.
I had no idea that Marilyn Monroe is a favorite of Mrs. Herrera and her image appears in the toile “creating an unexpected visual experience.”
The navy print is Zodiac inspired by a mirrored compact given to Mrs. Herrera from her husband. The jewels on the compact form the shape of a crescent moon which resembles a C for Carolina. In the middle is the Sparrows print in yellow and green who sing a happy song to herald the arrival of spring.
The Botanicals print is another favorite of mine. It was inspired by an anthology of 18th-century English flora and fauna illustrations found by Mrs. Herrera at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I love how the outfit on the mannequin blends into the backdrop perfectly in this photo.
It took the House of Herrera a little while to embrace social media but their @houseofherrera Instagram account is one of my favorites and the hashtag for the new Archives collection is #herreraarchive.
The video (on the tv above and below) for the new collection is absolutely adorable and of course I love the signature brown and ivory striped fabric on all the chairs.
I was told to take a few Carolina Herrera pencils on the way out and who was I to argue. This is the Carolina Herrerabook that I had her sign all those years ago. They persuaded Assouline to reprint it so it’s still available online and in their store.
The highlight of the visit besides meeting my style idol in person was being allowed to see her office. Along the hallway were Robert Mapplethorpe photos and in her office is one of the famous Andy Warhol silkscreens. While chatting with the PR girls, we talked about how Mrs. Herrera is always visiting museums and shows for inspiration and always keeps up with what’s new. It is definitely one of the things that keeps her young and her collections fresh.
When she placed my book on top of the pile, I could not have been prouder. I really do hope she makes it into one of my future books. I was so nervous though that I forgot to take a photo of her desk.
Mrs. Herrera mentioned that the red leather bound copies of Vogue were a gift from her friend Countess Consuelo Crespi. Pretty sure I’m not getting anything as fabulous from my friends.
The wall of magazine credits for the House of Herrera was fun to see in the office too.
I was also allowed to tour the atelier downstairs.
All of the samples are made on site which makes the process so much easier since they do not have to be sent out.
Here are a few of the fabrics from the Fall/Winter 2014 collection.
The atelier is currently working on bridal so there were lots of white and ivory fabrics around.
Samples are made in muslin first so the pattern can be finalized before it’s cut for the real fabric.
A visit to the House of Herrera is old hat for most fashion editors but for me it was a huge treat. I’ve always considered Mrs. Herrera a style idol not just for her beautiful clothing but for elegance in life and work. I would like to thank Mrs. Herrera and her lovely team for allowing me to visit today. You really did make my day.
All photos by Heather Clawson for Habitually Chic
Love this post, what a fun day! Swimming Ladies is my favorite too.
I love your enthusiasm in this post!
In a world where so often people act nonchalant in any special situation, it’s a breath of air to hear your absolute gobsmacked-ness at meeting Mrs. Herrera.
I would have been the same!
Thanks for sharing this.
Countess Crespi (an American) was also a close friend of JKO’s… so I guess they all knew one another. I think she was a former editor at Italian Vogue, and introduced Valentino to America.
Carolina Herrera has long been my fashion and personal inspiration. Always a lady and true to her vision–classic.
oh what an amazing opportunity! how cool!
Wow those prints are so beautiful, and I’m usually not a print person. I love the botanical print, and I think it was because when I first glanced at it, it reminded me of the large floral print drapes in Marie Antoinette’s “Petit Trianon” at Versailles. So beautiful!
Heather, what a treat to be able to visit with Carolina Herrera and see all those designs and gorgeous fabrics. I love the “Swimming Ladies” print. Thanks so much for sharing your visit with us!
What an honor to have this experience — and look how stunning she is!
I can’t resist commenting on a day short of time…but for Ms. Carolina Hererra I shall (and you Heather) because I have so much respect for this hardworking, immensely creative designer who knows how to make women look elegant. The above clothes make me happy to see…and I’m still agonizing over a navy and white print dress I saw online at Bergdorf’s but it was out of budget….sigh.
What a fabulous treat to go behind the scenes of this fashion icon! She carries herself beautifully and remains chic 24/7.
For years,I have incoporate crisp white blouses into my wardrobe,
because of Carolina~
Thank you again HC..
These prints are wonderful. However I am surprised that Mrs. Herrera does not acknowledge that her fabric “Swimming Ladies” is based on an art deco print that was made in 1937. That print was called “Surfers” and is clearly the inspiration for this lovely modern version.