Carolina Herrera waves goodbye to the runway

It was announced February 9, 2018 that Carolina Herrera, queen of elegance and favorite of US first ladies, is stepping down as chief designer of her eponymous label. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 10 February 2018
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Carolina Herrera waves goodbye to the runway

NEW YORK: New York Fashion Week day two saw first lady favorite Carolina Herrera signal the end of an era by stepping down from her four-decade-old label, while Tory Burch showcased breezy optimism in a sea of carnations for a post-#MeToo world.
The Venezuelan-born 79-year-old Herrera said she had appointed US designer Wes Gordon to take over as creative director after she takes the bow at her fall/winter 2018 fashion show at the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan on Monday.
But if she’s waving goodbye to the runway, she insisted in an interview with The New York Times that she was not retiring. Instead she will become a global brand ambassador for her fashion label, which has a reported $1.4 billion in annual sales.
“I am so pleased Wes is now part of the Herrera House — he’s the right one for this position to further build on our great momentum,” she said in a statement.
Gordon, who studied in London, and from 2010 to 2016 presented his eponymous womenswear collection in New York, has been creative consultant at Carolina Herrera for a year.
Herrera founded her namesake fashion house in 1981, going on to dress first ladies from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to Michelle Obama and Melania Trump, as well as Hollywood actresses like Renee Zellweger, not to mention generations of society women.
“Fashion has changed a lot,” Herrera told the Times.
“Women dress in a very strange way. Like clowns. There is a lot of pressure to change all the time. But it’s better to wear what suits you.”
Tory Burch also knows what suits her, transforming a market space under a flyover into a field of pink carnations sprouting from springy moss, light streaming through the windows and the Chamber Orchestra of New York playing Vivaldi.
Her fall/winter 2018 collection was romantic, whimsical and partly inspired by Lee Radziwill, the 84-year-old indomitable American socialite and younger sister of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
And if there was a hot pink pussy bow blouse and matching skirt, any allusion to the pink pussy hats worn by women marching against the Trump administration was pure coincidence: turns out Radziwill has a hot pink couch in her Paris living room.
“I promise that wasn’t in my mind. It really wasn’t,” laughed 51-year-old Burch, worth an estimated $600 million according to Forbes.
“I’m a big supporter of women and women’s issues but that is probably not how I would demonstrate that,” she added. “I love the color and pink, we were referencing Lee Radziwill... she had a pink couch.”
But she is only too happy to see positivity blowing in the winds as the United States navigates the sexual harassment watershed.
“You can read optimism into the whole mood of the collection,” she told AFP. “That is a definite direction,” she said.
“Women’s rights is the reason I started my company... this has been ingrained in our conversation for 14 years so to see a sea change is pretty spectacular.”
Her collection showcased feminine layers mixed with classic tailoring, chintz reimagined and made modern into a floaty dress, scarf hemlines paired with clean-cut tomboy jackets and a blanket poncho reflecting the boho vibe of the label.
There was a handbag named after Lee. Colors were ivory, pale pink, green and navy, with patchworks of florals and stripes, delicate lace and organza, pointy-toed booties.
If New York Fashion Week is struggling to excite buyers and editors as big names sit out the schedule or flee to Europe, Burch is not one of those to defect.
“I love showing in New York,” she said. But she is thinking about “more seasonless dressing” — reflected in the layering, making the clothes wearable in any clime.
It’s very useful for a global business: “They’re very interested in fashion and also they’re traveling a lot,” said Burch of the Chinese client. “The China market is very important for us.”


From genetics to fashion design, glamor is in Fidda Al-Marzouqi’s genes

A gown designed by Cabochon’s Fidda Al-Marzouqi.(Supplied)
Updated 18 October 2018
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From genetics to fashion design, glamor is in Fidda Al-Marzouqi’s genes

  • Fidda Al-Marzouqi talks about her label Cabochon
  • The label is known for its elegant evening gowns and fitted looks

DUBAI: She may have studied genetics and public health, but Fidda Al-Marzouqi has found success in a decidedly more creative field in her home town of Abu Dhabi.

The designer and founder of fashion atelier Cabochon spoke to Arab News about her personal style and the challenges she faced while making the transition to the studio.

“I’ve always loved anything to do with design and I’ve also always loved fashion, dressing myself up,” she said, explaining why she chose to test the waters of sartorial design while maintaining her day job as a senior health officer.

“A lot of people would always ask for my advice on how to style a certain look and my friends encouraged that, because I have natural flair — it’s not something I studied — I should pursue it.”

So, Al-Marzouqi hired a team of master cutters, tailors and hand embroiders and set up the brand Cabochon in 2016.

Named after a gemstone that has been shaped and polished as opposed to faceted, the label is known for its elegant evening gowns and fitted looks.

“It’s all about femininity. I love history, I love all aspects of design, traveling inspires me,” Al-Marzouqi said of her creative process.

However, inspiration and a knack for design will only take you so far in a notoriously competitive industry.

“If you have natural flair at designing or creating a look, there’s the other technical stuff that you’re not aware of like running a team of staff, the facts and figures — that was the challenging part,” the designer said, referring to the obstacles she has faced on her journey so far.

But she learnt the ropes and now oversees all aspects of research, design and production and is particularly keen to ensure the women she dresses have the “full Cabochon experience,” including “the attention, the care (and) the fit.

“I create and I design, but obviously every woman has a certain style so you respect the personality that comes in — her style, the shape of her body, her attitude, what she likes and, accordingly, you get inspired as a designer.”