DUBAI: Wes Gordon just wants to make happy clothes. And the Atlanta-born designer, who was handpicked to be Carolina Herrera's successor after she announced her retirement in February 2018, has done just that since his appointment as the New York-based label’s creative director. You don’t have to look further than the brand’s Spring 2020 collection, showcased at the bottom of Manhattan Island inside a glass bubble lined with plush, white carpet that was inspired by the rare botanical phenomenon, super bloom.
“Carolina Herrera is a brand about beauty,” declares the designer. “No one knows what tomorrow is going to be like. We just know today, and the things that we’re able to control ourselves, I feel like it’s our job to make them beautiful,” The 33-year-old told Arab News.
Indeed, in today’s current political climate, there’s never been more reason to inject joie de vivre back into fashion. “There’s a lot of dark and uncertainty right now,” muses Gordon. “And you can’t fight dark with dark.”
During his year-long tenure — He made his debut last September with an upbeat Spring 2019 collection, after running his own eponymous label for several years in addition to serving as Herrera’s right-hand since 2016 — the Central St. Martin’s graduate has churned out three joyful and upbeat ready-to-wear collections built on the foundation of vibrant hues and that serve as a refreshing departure from the sea of blacks and greys that have dominated the runways for the past few seasons.
“I love color,” shares Gordon. “Bold, vivacious, saturated colors — nothing grey or sad. So the first thing I do before I start designing a collection, is think really hard about colors.
“My biggest takeaway from the role is that something beautiful will always be successful. When you’re able to create something that’s just gorgeous, it will always do well.”
However, helming Carolina Herrera is no small feat. As one of the biggest fashion brands in the world, Gordon recognizes that his stint as a consultant at the label eased his transition since he was already familiar with the company.
Since his appointment, Gordon has managed to seamlessly incorporate his own joyful flair into the fashion house founded 39 years ago, without straying from the brand’s DNA or alienating its existing clientele.
While the designer does admit that it is virtually impossible for there to not be a change — “I’m not Mrs. Herrera,” he states — he does revel in the fact that though his designs are unique, clients are still able to look at them and say, “that still feels Herrera.”
His ability to maintain the house’s old world glamour in addition to his revolutionary and exuberant vision has appealed to a new generation of clients, which include everyone from “Euphoria” actress Zendaya to American screenwriter Lena Waithe, whom he dressed for the 2018 Met Gala.
As for the woman he designs for? “She’s fabulous and fantastic. She’s the best dressed and most fun woman in any room. If every woman in the street is wearing grey, she is wearing hot pink. She dresses for herself and treats every moment like a celebration,” he notes. Very much like Carolina Herrera herself.