As was the case for so many designers, the Covid-19 crisis forced Carolina Herrera Creative Director Wes Gordon out of his studio and away from his team. That they were still able to whip up such a sunny, optimistic Resort 2021 collection under those circumstances is admirable.
But, as Gordon said over a Zoom on Tuesday, there's nothing quite like hands-on, in-person design. When they were able to get back into the offices, the whole team took a brief pause — they technically sat out the Spring 2021 runways, instead filming an intimate conversation between Gordon and Ms. Herrera herself — and got right back on track with a collection they're calling Summer 2021.
"It's one of my favorite collections at Herrera," Gordon said. "It's about being more Herrera than ever before — being unmistakably Herrera."
To that end, Gordon packed in all of Herrera's most joyful signatures: oversized bows, polka dots of all shapes and sizes, voluminous sleeves and sharp tailoring. In an unusual twist for the designer known for his color play, however, Gordon limited himself to only four shades: Black, white, pink and silver. ("This is an exercise in restraint for me," he joked.) That allowed the craftsmanship of the designs to shine all the brighter, even in pictures shared over Zoom, whether on the impeccable draping at the bustline of a shirtdress or a delicately structured pile of tulle.
Three women were listed off as points of inspiration: Mia Farrow circa "Rosemary's Baby," Sade and Ms. Herrera herself, of course, in vintage photos dating back to her time in the nightlife circuit. The result of such a broad range is a collection that provides a little bit of something for everyone, something Gordon has consistently achieved in his time at the brand; the ruffled minidresses are darling for customers looking for their next party dress (especially one Gordon said was amongst his favorite, done in polka-dotted black-and-white paper taffetas twirled together), while a black tailored jacket with a ruffle would look just as commanding in a board room (or a board...Zoom?) over pants as it did on the runway with a sporty short.
They were unable to do any embroidery in the Resort 2021 collection due to coronavirus restraints, and Gordon was overjoyed to bring the technique back for Summer 2021. There are woven looks in black and white with no floater fabric underneath, and a shimmering, silver-fringed detail on strappy dresses.
But the showstopper in this collection is a stunning floral jacquard of pink tulips on a silver backdrop; Gordon challenged the brand's Italian mills to dream up the best possible fabric to flaunt their skills, and they delivered. With such a beautiful base, Gordon kept the silhouettes simple: a deeply-covetable, A-line miniskirt, for example, or a sweeping ballgown with just the right amount of volume.
Gordon says the Summer 2021 collection was about him "falling in love with fashion all over again" and the evidence of that is in the final results.
See the complete Carolina Herrera Summer 2021 collection in the gallery below: