Carolina Herrera's approach to fashion and fragrance can be defined as intricacy disguised as simplicity. Although her designs may be extremely complex, they are easy to appreciate on an aesthetic level, for their beauty is inescapable. This philosophy has served her well in a career spanning more than two decades, a career that has seen her rise to prominence as one of the worlds most respected architects of style.
Herrera was born in Caracas, Venezuela, January 8 1939, descended from a long line of landowners and statesmen. She had an affluent upbringing that instilled in her an appreciation for the finer things in life. At 13 years old she attended her first couture show with her grandmother. She was instantly captivated, and from that moment, her future in fashion was almost inevitable.
Herrera founded her company in 1980, and has been based out of New York since 1981. Throughout the 80's she gained a reputation as being one of the world's most stylish women. Since then she has become increasingly sought after by women seeking an air of timelessness and sophistication to their attire; classically designed suits, dresses and gowns embedded with Herrera's aura of nobility.
In 1988 Herrera expanded into the realm of fragrances for the first time. The perfume Carolina Herrera fitted her fashion philosophy perfectly, seemingly simple, yet in reality, a complex blend of the tuberose and jasmine fragrances she had always favored. Carolina Herrera For Men was released in 1991, followed by Flore in 1994, and its more delicate counter part, Aqua Flore in 1996. These fragrances had a more floral tone than their predecessors. The highly popular 212 range was first released in 1997. 212 For Men is described as distinct, elegant, innovative and subtle, inspired by the energy and international flavor of New York itself. 212 For Women is a long lasting floral fragrance with musk undertones, personifying todays “playfully hip, modern Cinderella”.
Despite her success, Herrera has managed to remained grounded and retains a sense of perspective regarding her achievements. She regards her role as Goodwill Ambassador for the Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition (IIMSAM) as being most important, “If my work at the IISAM was to save the life of one child of the forty thousand that die from malnutrition and related disease each day, I would consider it the greatest work of my life”. Perhaps it is this compassionate nature that elevates her creations above more than mere showy facades. Her designs come from her heart, born of a passion that has not waned since her first experience of couture as a wide eyed 13 year old. Like the woman herself, her fashion and her fragrances, embody both style and substance.