Over the last three and a half decades, Carolina Herrera has carefully tailored her name so that it has become synonymous with class and elegance, all the while building an iconic business with hundreds of stores across the world.
Carolina Herrera: 35 Years of Fashion, her new book from Rizzoli, highlights her journey from fabric designer, which Diana Vreeland famously told her was too boring, to respected designer, the go-to dressmaker for the Ladies Who Lunch and a whole new generation of young society ladies, from Karlie Kloss, the face of the brand, to Caroline Vreeland, Lauren Remington Platt, and Nicky Hilton.
Kloss, in fact, turned up earlier this week at the U.S. embassy in Madrid, presently occupied by ambassador James Costos and his partner, the White House decorator Michael Smith, for a party in Herrera's honor and her new book. (In October, the New York party for the book drew Priyanka Chopra, Serena Williams and Herrera's own children, Patricia Herrera Lansing and Carolina Herrera Baez.)
It was familiar terrain for the designer, who grew up in the comfort of Venezuelan aristocracy and was already consuming fashion at 13, when she attended a Balenciaga show in Paris. Even before her very own first show in 1981 in New York, Herrera was already a society fixture in the city, a regular at Studio 54 with her husband Reinaldo who was regularly photographed by everyone from Robert Mapplethorpe, who caught her glamorously in repose in Mustique in 1976, to Andy Warhol, who in 1979 traded her a bejeweled clutch in exchange for a portrait.
Her friends from that era, the likes of Bob Colacello and Fran Lebowitz, still turn up front row at her shows, only now they're sitting alongside the new It girls of the day, like Kiernan Shipka, Kate Bosworth and Olivia Palermo.
The Rizzoli book traces the whole arc of her career, lovingly documented via Warhol's Polaroids and new editorials of the archival designs that made the brand into a top red-carpet choice. Take a look inside, below.
In addition to her accomplishments as a designer, Herrera is also a pioneer for Latinos working in New York, and she was named among the city's most stylish in a new book published earlier this year: