Herrera in 2007
María Carolina Josefina Pacanins y Niño
January 8, 1939
|Carolina Herrera New York|
CH Carolina Herrera
|Spouse(s)||Guillermo Behrens Tello (1957–64; divorced);|
Reinaldo Herrera Guevara
Carolina Herrera (born January 8, 1939) is a Venezuelan fashion designer known for "exceptional personal style", and for dressing various First Ladies, including Jacqueline Onassis, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama.
Early and personal life
She was born María Carolina Josefina Pacanins y Niño on January 8, 1939, in Caracas, Venezuela, to Guillermo Pacanins Acevedo, an air force officer and former governor of Caracas, and María Cristina Niño Passios. Her socialite grandmother introduced her to the world of fashion, taking young Carolina to shows by Balenciaga and buying her outfits at Lanvin and Dior. She has said "My eye was accustomed to seeing pretty things."
In 1968, in Caracas, she married Reinaldo Herrera Guevara, who had inherited the Spanish title The 5th Marquis of Torre Casa in 1962 upon his father's death. Reinaldo was the host of Buenos Días, a Venezuelan morning-television news program and the elder son of Don Reinaldo Herrera Uslar, 4th Marquis of Torre Casa, a prominent Venezuelan sugarcane plantation owner, aristocrat and art collector. Therefore, by marriage, Carolina held the title The Marquise consort of Torre Casa, until it was retracted in 1992, as Reinaldo had issued no son. Her husband is a special-projects editor of Vanity Fair magazine, and they have two daughters, Carolina Adriana and Patricia Cristina, and six grandchildren.
Career and brand
|Headquarters||New York City, New York, United States|
In 1965, Herrera began her career working as a publicist for Emilio Pucci, a Florentine Marquis himself and a close family friend. She began working at Pucci's Caracas boutique, and moved to New York in 1980. Frequently associating with Mick and Bianca Jagger and Andy Warhol, at Studio 54, she became well known for her dramatic style. She first appeared on the International Best Dressed List in 1972, then was elected to its Hall of Fame in 1980. In 1981, her friend Diana Vreeland, then Editor-in-Chief of Vogue suggested that Carolina design a clothing line. She did so, having samples made in Caracas, and debuted her collection at Manhattan's Metropolitan Club to critical acclaim. A well known Park Avenue boutique, Martha's, agreed to showcase her clothing in their prominent windows. Upon this initial success, she returned to Caracas and raised capital to fund a more formal launch. Her first runway show in 1980 included future supermodel Iman. Carolina Herrera presents her Ready-to-Wear Collection semiannually at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.
The company has been based in New York City since 1980, and in 1981 the brand received recognition from several key publications, including Women's Wear Daily and Tatler, with particular early attention to her well designed sleeves. A few of her most notable clients have included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who asked her to design the dress for her daughter Caroline's wedding, Diana, Duchess of Cadaval, who asked her to design the dress for her marriage with Prince Charles-Philippe of Orléans, Duke of Anjou, and actress Renée Zellweger.
In the late 1980s, Spanish fragrance company Puig licensed the Carolina Herrera name to develop and market a line of perfumes. In 1995, the firm acquired the Carolina Herrera fashion business, retaining her as Creative Director. In 2008, they launched a ready-to-wear brand called CH Carolina Herrera; as of 2012, there were 18 Carolina Herrera and CH Carolina Herrera boutiques in the world, and her lines were carried in 280 stores in 104 countries. As of 2011, her daughters Carolina Jr. and Patricia Lansing participated in the creative direction and design. In February 2016, it was reported by WWD that the fragrance side of the business had more than 25,000 points of sale across the globe while the CH brand included 129 freestanding stores.
In July 2016 Herrera announced the release of her new women's fragrance to be available for purchase in September, her biggest fragrance launch in 14 years. The scent is called 'Good Girl' and Karlie Kloss is the face of the fragrance.
In 2018 Herrera showed her last line for her eponymous brand and handed creative directorship of the brand over to Wes Gordon.
Awards and achievements
In 2008, she was awarded the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award  from the Council of Fashion Designers of America, and "Womenswear Designer of the Year" in 2004. Herrera is a recipient of The International Center in New York's Award of Excellence as well as Spain's Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts, which was presented to her in 2002 by King Juan Carlos I. She was awarded the Gold Medal of the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute in 1997.
She received the Fashion Group International Superstar Award, the Style Awards Designer of the Year in 2012 and the "Mercedes-Benz Presents" title for her 2011 collection. She has been on the cover of Vogue seven times.
In 2014, she earned the 2014 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion.
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- Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopaedia, Volume 1, pages 325-326
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- "Gobierno De Espana, Agencia Estatal Boletin Oficial del Estado – Order 3742" (PDF). 1 February 1975.
- "Maria Herrera-Uslar; Society Figure Was 78". The New York Times. 28 December 1992.
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- "Carolina Herrera confie sa dernière campagne à Willy Vanderperre". ladepeche.fr (in French). La Dépêche du Midi. January 26, 2015. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
- "Carolina Herrera's 'Good Girl' Scent Aims to Make a Mark". WWD. July 12, 2014.
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- Spanish Institute Gala Announcement
- Margulies, Hadas (16 July 2012). "Carolina Herrera Is An Honorary Superstar". Elle.
- Feitelberg, Rosemary (7 September 2012). "Style Awards Honor Carolina Herrera, Reed Krakoff". WWD.
- Davis, Jim (24 August 2010). "Mercedes-Benz Presents Title Given to Fashion Designer Carolina Herrera". eMercedesBenz.com.
- "Carolina Herrera joining Mimi So board". Fashion Week Daily. Archived from the original on 2014-02-21.
- "CFDA board taps Wang, Von Furstenberg, Spade". Women's Wear Daily. 1 July 1999. p. 11.
- Karimzadeh, Marc (7 February 2014). "The Couture Council to Honor Carolina Herrera". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
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