When designer Wes Gordon took the helm of Carolina Herrera two years ago to the day, he set out to bring some lighthearted energy to the elegant legacy brand. In just a few short seasons, not only has he succeeded — Gordon’s dressed everyone from Rachel Brosnahan, Zoey Deutch, Millie Bobby Brown, and Yara Shahidi, and has even found a devoted younger fanbase among his customers — but he’s reinvigorated the brand in a way that’s still managed to maintain its foundational DNA. For the Carolina Herrera Fall/Winter 2020 runway show on Feb. 10, Gordon showed an array of polished, lady-who-lunches separates, sharply tailored suiting in new hues, and the voluminous red carpet confections he's become synonymous with.
“If I could boil down the starting point for this collection, it was really the idea of one grand gesture ... of figuring out in each piece what makes it special and unique, and then taking away everything else and letting it shine,” Gordon tells TZR backstage after the show.
He's certainly no stranger to color or volume or glamour (see: the black-and-white gown from Pre-Fall 2020 that boasted a three-foot-wide bow), and Gordon turned it out again this season, this time offering a mix of tiered mini-gowns with all-engulfing ruffles in cornflower blue, off-the-shoulder red-carpet contenders in cadmium reds, as well as a floor-length, four-tier belted gown in acacia yellow.
At times, Gordon even showed measured constraint: The two-piece knitwear looks were particularly lovely, and he proved a flowing wide-leg pant can span from the Upper East Side all the way back downtown with ease. The entire collection served as a great backdrop for the brand's new beauty collection, Carolina Beauty, which debuted on the runway.
“Whether it was the shape of a sleeve or an embroidery or a color, [we’re] going all-in for that and trying to achieve the drama of a disciplined exuberance,” Gordon says. “My great passion is color, I’m a total colorist and I start each season by creating the color palette for it. Nothing to be speaks more emotion, color is powerful. All of the colors we use at Carolina Herrera are saturated, rich, deep, pure colors. So much optimism and exuberance and vitality can be expressed with colors.”