Attendees of Carolina Herrera’s fall/winter 2022 collection were likely expecting an array of signature looks from Creative Director Wes Gordon: elaborate sleeve enhancements, princess-like ball gowns, a rich red color palette. And they certainly got all of these things — and then some. Yes, the iconic design house, known for its timeless formalwear, delivered a dramatic showcase that had all the makings of a sartorial opera.
Setting the scene was Georges Bizet’s Habanera (from the opera Carmen), queuing a calm, cool, and collected procession of models in quintessential Herrera. Cropped stove-pipe trousers paired with voluminous ivory peasant blouses and double-breasted blazers with ballooned statement sleeves. The label’s iconic ball skirt — in all its waist-belted glory — made an early appearance against a magenta hue and topped with another brand signature: the crisp white button down.
And while subtle in its entrance, like any operatic crescendo, the presentation’s intensity steadily built, as bold and interesting detailing came into view. Sensually cut bustier tops, overtly ruffled and layered necklines, and dramatic trains sashayed down the all-white runway in bold colorways that the show notes referred to as, “Crushed Berries, Anemone Blue, Fire Opal, Deep Peony,Evening Primrose Yellow, and Dahlia.”
In said release, the label explained that the vibrant collection was “inspired by the self-assured, strong ,and full-of-fire Carolina Herrera woman,” describing the offering as “bold” and “heart-pounding.” And it truly was. It seems as if each rising octave in the iconic musical soundtrack signaled a more dramatic look.
Even classic outerwear and cold-weather essentials like structured blazers, dark denim separates, suit sets, and sweater dresses featured some unique detailing in the form of an oversized bow (or bows!), strategic cutout, intricate jewel-encrusted collars and lapels, or a whimsical floral print. “The silhouettes this season are markedly linear and tailored, yet feature moments of exuberance like an undulating cascade, an enormous sleeve ,or a color reveal at a hem,” read the show notes.
“Shatteringly-bold Fauvist florals are arresting, taking on an exaggerated scale,” the brand adds. “Deep indigo denim, silk moirés, crisp taffetas and failles, signature Herrera cotton shirting, knits embroidered with thread work and sequins, and a lurex brocade featuring blooming irises are the fabrics that bring Gordon's sketches to life.” The designer also seemingly staked his claim on capes as a fall 2022 essential, with rich purple and creamy ivory iterations seen paired with dresses and boots.
But the the pièce de résistance was surely the final leg of the showcase, which featured fantastically unique use of tulle fabric. Corseted ball gowns with multi-colored layered tulle skirts, a fiery red mini dress with a blooming tulle collar (that read almost Elizabethan), a peplum tulle skirt on an otherwise sleek LBD, an extravagant bubblegum-pink tulle train, an all-tulle navy midi dress — all more captivating than the other and felt like a deep breath of fresh air for the house of Herrera.