Carolina Herrera is not just a designer, she’s a fashion icon. At 74 years old, the Venezuelan-born winner of the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s lifetime achievement award is the picture of poise, grace and creative energy—and she shows no signs of slowing down. She visited Naples this season to present her Spring 2013 collection at a luncheon hosted by the Saint Ann School Foundation and Saks Fifth Avenue that raised $250,000 for scholarships. Hundreds of philanthropic and fashion-forward Neapolitans were on the edge of their seats at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts to glimpse Herrera and her gorgeous designs (available now at Saks Fifth Avenue).
NI: What influences characterize this collection?
HERRERA: It is about movement and fluidity. You see the dresses start with movement. It’s also very feminine. I used a lot of colors, and the prints were made especially for the collection.
How has your style evolved, and what’s your take on it?
It’s fun. It’s like being a painter. You know—you change, you experiment using different things. The main thing about fashion is the newness. Fashion is for your eyes, to please your eyes. It has to be fun, and it has to be easy to wear.
|Herrera’s sketch and the final cut being modeled in Naples.|
You have been in business since the ’80s. What do you think has contributed to your staying power?
Women like to wear my clothes because they feel special wearing them, and the designs are not so based on trends. Trends tend to make women look like they are wearing a uniform, like everybody is wearing the same thing. I think when they wear Carolina Herrera, they want to feel different. I hope so. Fashion changes but style remains.
How do your clothes work for Floridians in particular?
They are for the real woman who wants to look sophisticated, chic and elegant. She is also an active woman who is traveling and on the go. I tried to do this collection with that person in mind, and I think it is a very good fit for Naples. Plus I think dressing here should be about colors and movement; my spring line was all about that, so it’s perfect for Naples.
What does philanthropy and giving back mean to you?
I came here to support the school. It’s not because I think I have to do it. I do it because I feel about the charities that I am involved with, and this is one that I like very much.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My greatest achievements are my four daughters, my 12 grandchildren and my two great-grandchildren.