March 04 2010
Lucia van der Post
The fashion designer Carolina Herrera is one of those exotic creatures whose every move is followed by the American press, while every now and again glimpses of her gilded social and family life appear in the European press. I first met her years ago when interviewing her about the launch of her first perfume and a more glamorous great-grandmother it would be hard to find. Her trademark look is a crisp shirt (cotton by day, gorgeously hued taffeta, organza or silk by night) tucked into a slim waist and teamed with a brilliantly cut shortish (but not too short) skirt by day and a long sweeping number by night. It’s exotic, glamorous and sophisticated.
If this resonates in some deep primeval place with you, then hurry along to the first CH Carolina Herrera shop to open in the British Isles, in London’s Mayfair, where all the iconic Carolina Herrera looks are on sale. There you will also find versions of her crisp white shirts – wear them, Herrera-style, with the collar up, tucked into a skirt or, if you prefer wear it and tie a belt slightly above the waist. Add some gold clips, a good bracelet, and you’re set to go.
But I’m possibly most excited by her dresses – seriously grown-up, truly elegant, easy to wear. They come in gorgeous prints or in Jacquards, beautifully cut with short or three-quarter sleeves. Particularly good for weddings, garden parties and summer lunch parties are her two-piece summer suits – a skirt with a pretty short-sleeved top with a flattering peplum.
Then there are lovely handbags and shoes (she was wearing her own grey suede high-heeled lace-ups, £490, teamed with grey Wolford tights when I interviewed her – and very sexy in the right, elegant kind of way they looked, too), and very lightweight coats ideal for travelling. If there’s one thing she knows about it’s travelling, so there’ll be lots of easily elegant trousers and skirts (“I find an easy skirt just as comfortable for travelling in as trousers,” she says). Look, too, for some very good menswear: Breton sweaters (£175), crisp shorts (£145), voluminous holdalls (£700). Drop in for tea, sit by the fire and plan your summer wardrobe – there are worse things to do on a cold, grey day. (First picture: dress, £585, wallet, £216. Second picture: jacket, £176, skirt, £171, brooch, £81, bag, £405, sandals, £297. Third picture: blouse, £126, jacket, £245, trousers, £135, sandals, £288, bag, £522. Fourth picture: jacket, £270, shirt, £90, tie, £100, shorts, £90, holdall, from £210, shoes, £198.)
As for prices: CH Carolina Herrera is slightly less expensive than her Carolina Herrera New York range (not available here but on sale in six shops in the US) and is a whole lifestyle collection that she has created in collaboration with her daughter Carolina. Prices run at about £350 for shoes, £500 for a handbag, £650-£1,500 for a very sophisticated day dress and from £1,500 for eveningwear.