Fall 2007: Carolina Herrera
A designer who's been around for ages, Carolina Herrera can attribute her longevity to one thing: She knows her customer. Like Valentino, who also doesn't conform to the whims of fashion, Ms. Herrera (I feel like she, at least, deserves a courtesy title) sends out prim, ladylike, beautiful clothing season after season. The palette may change, the embellishments may change, but basically you know what you're going to get. This explains why the front row was dominated with socialites and celebrities (Ivanka Trump, Kim Cattrall), but does not exactly explain why the show was so packed. I was literally the last person to get in, and the show started so quickly, I didn't have time to fish my notebook out of my bag to take notes. Also, since I was all the way in the back, I couldn't exactly see everything. Nonetheless, I was a bit surprised with the show, because instead of the luxe and refinement we've come to expect from Ms. Herrera, the show was a bit...dark. Yes, it was a fall collection, but the color palette--silvery greys, muted plums, inky blacks--was, well, on the gloomy side. Perhaps she's still smarting from Cathy Horyn's nasty review from several seasons ago?

This gray dress didn't photograph so well, but while it was chic enough for day, it seemed a bit ill-fitting.

I admire Ms. Herrera because she doesn't shy away from using fur liberally--like I said, she knows her customer, and her customer wears fur. That said, I'm not sure that her customer wears fur with grunge-era Marc Jacobs, which is what this skirt reminded me of.

Now, this is more like it...I'm not sure that this look works together, but the pieces are definitely good as separates--the cute fur jacket, the Chanel-ish blouse, and the metallic skirt. I like the black tights too--they give the look a bit of Edie Sedgwick-ness.

This is also more what I think of when I think Carolina Herrera: a bold floral print with feminine styling. Strangely, it looked out of place with the rest of the collection.

A good way to look at any Carolina Herrera collection is to ask, "Would Renée Zellweger wear this?" I think that works for this dress.

There were, however, a smattering of dresses toward the end that just looked damn uncomfortable. This appeared to be made out of strips of organza, woven together. It looked itchy, and I can't imagine it would look at all flattering on the average woman.

Ms. Herrera excels when she sticks to what she does best, which is create beautiful things. The beading on this dress was exquisite, and unfortunately was not captured too well in this photo.

I'm not sure exactly what Ms. Herrera was trying to do with this collection, other than to push the boundaries within her design vocabulary. I'm not 100% sure that it worked, but I do think she should be commended for trying. Next season, however, I hope the ruffles, flowers, and frills make a comeback on her runway.

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