An icon of sophistication and graceful style, Carolina Herrera is a fashion designer, known for a unique sense of dressing, as well as for designing apparel for First Ladies, like Michelle Obama and Jacqueline Onassis. New York Times defined her designing as being elegant and not fussy.
Herrera was born in Venezuela, 1939 as María Carolina Josefina Pacanins y Niño to the former governor and air force official of Caracas, Guillermo Pacanins and María Cristina Niño Passios, her mother. Her family practiced discipline and this is the reason she is highly organized and uses time in a very efficient and effective way. In 2009, she became a naturalized citizen of the United States.
Herrara’s grandmother was a socialite who interacted with popular personalities and introduced Herrera to the fashion world by taking her to runway shows and buying her clothes from Dior and Lanvin. Due to this, Herrera understood the meaning of quality, beauty and classiness in terms of fashion. Herrera once said that her eyes became accustomed to seeing pretty things. Later, in her work this statement is reflected with full honesty.
In 1957, when Herrera was eighteen years old, she married a Venezuelan landlord named Guillermo Behrens Tello. She gave birth to two children, Ana Luisa and Mercedes. However, the couple later separated. In 1968, she married Reinaldo Herrera Guevara, who was a project editor at Vanity Fair. The couple has two kids, Patricia Cristina and Carolina Adriana. In addition to this, Herrera has six grandchildren.
She frequently met Bianca and Mick Jagger, and Andy Warhol at studio 54, this made her discover her approach towards fashion. In 1972, she appeared on the list of International Best Dressed and in 1980 she was nominated for its Hall of Fame. The same year, Diana Vreeland, a friend and Vogue editor, suggested Carolina Herrera to launch a clothing line. When she did, the collection was displayed not only in a friend’s house but at Martha’s boutique as well. Upon this success, she returned to her homeland from New York and raised funds for a formal launch of her line. It was in 1980 only that her first show took place featuring Iman, an upcoming supermodel. A year later, Herrera’s brand received media limelight in publications like Tatler, and Women’s Wear Daily. Her most notable clients have been Renée Zellweger, Duchess Diana de Melo and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. During the same decade, Carolina Herrera’s name was licensed by Puig, a perfume company from Spain, to develop and sell a line of fragrances. In 1995, Puig acquired her fashion company, retaining Herrera as the Creative Director. Then in 2008, the firm launched prêt-à-porter brand, CH Carolina Herrera. In 2011, Herrera’s daughters began participating in their mother’s business. Since 2012, eighteen official stores of her brands have been opened around the world and her collection has been shelved with 280 shops in 104 countries.
For her achievements in fashion designing, Herrera received many awards, such as a Queen Sofía Spanish Institute Gold Medal, 1997; Gold Medal for Fine Arts by King Don Juan Carlos I, 2002; award for Womenswear Designer of the Year, 2004; Council of Fashion Designers of America presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award, 2008; and in 2012 she received the Style Awards Designer of the year, and Fashion Group International Superstar Award.
Carolina Herrara is considered as a woman with an amazing personal style, design sense and good attitude.