Carolina Herrera

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Carolina Herrera
Herrera in 2007
María Carolina Josefina Pacanins y Niño[1]

(1939-01-08) 8 January 1939 (age 84)
  • Venezuela
  • United States
  • Carolina Herrera New York
  • CH Carolina Herrera
  • Guillermo Behrens Tello
    (m. 1957; div. 1964)
  • Reinaldo Herrera Guevara
    (m. 1968)

Carolina Herrera (born María Carolina Josefina Pacanins y Niño; 8 January 1939[2]) is a Venezuelan fashion designer[3] known for her personal style,[4] and for dressing various First Ladies, including Jacqueline Onassis, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, and Melania Trump.[5][6]

Early life[edit]

María Carolina Josefina Pacanins y Niño[1] was born on 8 January 1939, in Caracas, Venezuela,[2] to Guillermo Pacanins Acevedo, an air force officer and former governor of Caracas,[7] and María Cristina Niño Passios.[8] 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."[9]

Career and brand[edit]

Carolina Herrera New York
IndustryLuxury Clothing
HeadquartersNew York City, New York, United States Ourense, Spain
Key people
Carolina Herrera
ProductsClothes, perfume
Herrera at a fashion show in 2008

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.[10] 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.[9] 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.[11] 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.[9] Carolina Herrera presents her Ready-to-Wear Collection semiannually at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.[12][13]

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,[14] and actress Renée Zellweger.[9]

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.[15] 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.[16] As of 2011, her daughters Carolina Jr. and Patricia Lansing participated in the creative direction and design.[17] 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.[18]

In 2015, the first advert for the brand was released, featuring models Elisabeth Erm and Joséphine Le Tutour.[19]

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.[20]

In 2018, Herrera showed her last line for her eponymous brand and handed creative directorship of the brand over to Wes Gordon.[21]

Awards and achievements[edit]

In 2008, Herrera was awarded the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award [22] from the Council of Fashion Designers of America,[23] 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.[24] She was awarded the Gold Medal of the Queen Sofía Spanish Institute in 1997.[25]

She received the Fashion Group International Superstar Award,[26] the Style Awards Designer of the Year in 2012[27] and the "Mercedes-Benz Presents" title for her 2011 collection.[28] She has been on the cover of Vogue seven times.[23]

Since 2004, she has been a member of the board of directors of jewelry designer Mimi So,[29] and since 1999 on the board of the CFDA.[30]

In 2005, she received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement during the International Achievement Summit in New York City.[31][32]

In 2014, she earned the 2014 Couture Council Award for Artistry of Fashion.[33]

Personal life[edit]

In 1957, at the age of 18, Herrera married Guillermo Behrens Tello, a Venezuelan landowner.[34] Before their eventual divorce in 1964, they became the parents of two daughters:[35]

  • Mercedes Behrens-Pacanins[36]
  • Ana Luisa Behrens-Pacanins, who married developer Luis Paraud-Carpena, the son of Maj. Gen. Fernando Paraud of Madrid, in 1989.[37]

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.[38][39][40] 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.[39] 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.[41] Her husband is a special-projects editor of Vanity Fair magazine.[8] Together, they have two daughters, and six grandchildren, including:[9]

  • Carolina Adriana Herrera-Pacanins (b. 1969), who married Miguel Baez.[42] She is currently dating Pedro de Noronha.[43]
  • Patricia Cristina Herrera-Pacanins, who married Gerrit Livingston Lansing Jr., a son of Suydam Rosengarten Lansing and Gerrit Livingston Lansing Sr. (a descendant of Robert Livingston),[44] in 2002.[45][46][47]

In 2009, Herrera became a naturalized United States citizen.[3]


  1. ^ a b "Vogue Espana Biography of Carolina Herrera". 22 February 2013.
  2. ^ a b "La Vanguardia Ediciones Newspaper, Jan. 22, 2013 – Subject Page – Carolina Herrera". Archived from the original on 10 July 2015. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  3. ^ a b Leader, Romney (25 September 2009). "Carolina Herrera Makes It Official". Archived from the original on 30 September 2009. Retrieved 6 February 2011.
  4. ^ "Vanity Fair". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 27 June 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2013.
  5. ^ Tuck, Lauren (21 January 2017). "Melania Trump Helped Hervé Pierre Design Her Inaugural Ball Gown". Retrieved 21 January 2017.
  6. ^ Morris, Bernadine (4 January 1994). "For Carolina Herrera, Tranquillity Amid Success". The New York Times. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Ana L. Behrens-Pacanins Is Married To Luis Paraud-Carpena, Developer". The New York Times. 14 October 1989.
  8. ^ a b "Reinaldo Herrera Weds in Caracas". The New York Times. 21 September 1968.
  9. ^ a b c d e Kotur, Alexandra (2004). "Foreword by Hamish Bowles". Carolina Herrera: Portrait of a Fashion Icon. Assouline. pp. 8–13.
  10. ^ "Carolina Herrera | #BoF500 | The Business of Fashion". The Business of Fashion. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Carolina Herrera Corporate Website". Carolina Herrera. Archived from the original on 8 March 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  12. ^ Bauknecht, Sara (5 February 2013). "Pittsburgh Post-Gazette".
  13. ^ Avion, Pablo (9 January 2014). "New York Fashion Week Live". Archived from the original on 15 February 2014.
  14. ^ Silva, Cândida Santos (19 August 2010). "Diana de Cadaval: "Gosto que me chamem princesa"". Expresso (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  15. ^ "Puig, a Spanish fashion empire that started with a lipstick". Modaes. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  16. ^ Taylor, Felicia (14 March 2012). "How Carolina Herrera turned being chic into big business". CNN.
  17. ^ Chang, Bee-Shyuan (6 May 2011). "With Pops of Color". The New York Times.
  18. ^ Foley, Bridget (10 February 2016). "Carolina Herrera's Quiet Path to Power". WWD. Retrieved 3 May 2016.
  19. ^ "Carolina Herrera confie sa dernière campagne à Willy Vanderperre". (in French). La Dépêche du Midi. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  20. ^ "Carolina Herrera's 'Good Girl' Scent Aims to Make a Mark". WWD. 12 July 2014.
  21. ^ "Wes Gordon Answers the High Society Vibe Shift". Harper's Bazaar. 22 July 2022. Retrieved 12 May 2023.
  22. ^ "CFDA Announces 2008 CFDA Fashion Awards Nominations". CFDA (Press release). 14 March 2008. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  23. ^ a b "Bio page and timeline for Carolina Herrera". Vogue. Archived from the original on 5 January 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  24. ^ "Madrid with Carolina Herrera". Travel+Leisure. October 2005. Archived from the original on 8 February 2012.
  25. ^ "Spanish Institute Gala Announcement". Archived from the original on 30 January 2021. Retrieved 3 August 2010.
  26. ^ Margulies, Hadas (16 July 2012). "Carolina Herrera Is An Honorary Superstar". Elle.
  27. ^ Feitelberg, Rosemary (7 September 2012). "Style Awards Honor Carolina Herrera, Reed Krakoff". WWD.
  28. ^ Davis, Jim (24 August 2010). "Mercedes-Benz Presents Title Given to Fashion Designer Carolina Herrera".
  29. ^ "Carolina Herrera joining Mimi So board". Fashion Week Daily. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014.
  30. ^ "CFDA board taps Wang, Von Furstenberg, Spade". Women's Wear Daily. 1 July 1999. p. 11. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014.
  31. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  32. ^ "2005 Summit Highlights". American Academy of Achievement.
  33. ^ Karimzadeh, Marc (7 February 2014). "The Couture Council to Honor Carolina Herrera". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  34. ^ Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopaedia, Volume 1, pages 325-326
  35. ^ Shapiro, Harriet (3 May 1982). "From Venezuela to Seventh Avenue, Carolina Herrera's Fashions Cast a Long Shadow". People. Archived from the original on 10 March 2011.
  36. ^ "Carolina Herrera Hosts Second Annual Fundraising Event for the FundaHigado America Foundation". World Red Eye. 10 April 2017. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  37. ^ "Ana Behrens-Pacanins Is Married To Luis Paraud-Carpena, Developer". The New York Times. 14 October 1989. Archived from the original on 29 May 2009.
  38. ^ "Gobierno De Espana, Agencia Estatal Boletín Oficial del Estado – Order 3742" (PDF). 1 February 1975.
  39. ^ a b "Maria Herrera-Uslar; Society Figure Was 78". The New York Times. 28 December 1992.
  40. ^ Philby, Charlotte (6 March 2010). "My Secret Life: Carolina Herrera, fashion designer, 71". The Independent. London.
  41. ^ "Gobierno De Espana, Agencia Estatal Boletín Oficial del Estado – Order 26340" (PDF). 16 March 1992.
  42. ^ Abramovitch, Ingrid (14 September 2012). "Spanish Influence: Carolina Herrera Baez at Home". ELLE Decor. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  43. ^ "Descubrimos a Pedro de Noronha, el atractivo inversor portugués que ha enamorado a Carolina Herrera". HOLA (in Spanish). 1 March 2023. Retrieved 29 October 2023.
  44. ^ "LANSING--Gerrit Livingston". The New York Times. 31 July 2010. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  45. ^ "WEDDINGS/CELEBRATIONS; Patricia Herrera, Gerrit Lansing Jr". The New York Times. 24 November 2002. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  46. ^ Chang, Bee-Shyuan (6 May 2011). "What a Carolina Herrera Daughter and Consultant Is Wearing". The New York Times. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  47. ^ Keltner de Valle, Jane (22 April 2019). "Designer Patrick McGrath Brings New Life to Patricia Herrera Lansing's New York City Home". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 11 May 2019.

External links[edit]