Known for her distinctive sense of style and for dressing several First Ladies, including Jacqueline Onassis, Laura Bush, Michelle Obama, and Melania Trump, Venezuelan fashion designer Carolina Herrera (born Mara Carolina Josefina Pacanins y Nio; 8 January 1939)
In Caracas, Venezuela, on January 8, 1939, Guillermo Pacanins Acevedo, a former governor of Caracas and an air force officer, gave birth to Mara Carolina Josefina Pacanins y Nio. Carolina’s affluent grandmother introduced her to the world of fashion by taking her to Balenciaga runway shows and dressing her in Lanvin and Dior clothing. My sight was trained to perceive attractive things, she once remarked.
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According to her birthdate of January 8, 1939, Carolina Herrera is currently 83 years old.
She attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, to study biopsychology and chemistry. An honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree was awarded to her by the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).
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This fall, the look is bohemian and brave — the Herrera Eyewear is oversized and elegant, the Andy 7 handbag is slouchy and sumptuous, the attitude is audacious and exciting.
Photographer: Will Scarborough
Styling: Alba Melendo
Model: Sijia Kang#HerreraEyewear#CHAndybag pic.twitter.com/esC03psI1L
— Carolina Herrera (@HouseofHerrera) October 4, 2022
She traveled to New York City in the fall of 1980 with roughly 20 outfits that her dressmaker had prepared for her in Caracas. She rented out a friend’s Park Avenue condo and asked her buddies to check them out. After hearing from her friends that she should establish a business selling clothes, she made the decision to do so.
She met publishing magnate Armando de Armas in Caracas, and he volunteered to finance her. A few months later, Carolina Herrera Ltd., a design studio and shop, launched in New York. Her first complete collection was displayed in April 1981 at the Metropolitan Club in New York.
Her friend Diana Vreeland, who was the Editor-in-Chief of “Vogue” at the time, advised her to start a clothing brand in 1981. She created some examples in Caracas and showed her collection at the Metropolitan Club in Manhattan, where it was well-received by the critics.
Her company had only twelve employees when it originally began, but it quickly expanded, and the socialites she knew became some of her first committed clients. Her customers included ladies like Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the former First Lady, and cosmetics tycoon Estee Lauder.
The name “Carolina Herrera” was licensed by the Spanish fragrance manufacturer “Puig” in the late 1980s in order to create and sell a range of colognes. Herrera for Men, a best-selling men’s fragrance she introduced in 1991, was one of several new women’s goods she frequently added to the range.
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One of the first fashion designers to employ padded shoulders, she did so because she thought that wider shoulders made a woman’s waist appear smaller. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Duchess Diana de Melo, Michelle Obama, and actress Renée Zellweger have been some of her most noteworthy clients.
Recognition & Achievements
She initially appeared on the “International Best Dressed List” in 1972, and in 1980, she was inducted into the list’s Hall of Fame. She got the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute’s “Gold Medal” in 1997.
She was given the “Award of Excellence” from the International Center in New York as well as Spain’s Gold Medal for Merit in the Fine Arts in 2002. She received the title of “Womenswear Designer of the Year” in 2004. The Council of Fashion Designers of America gave her the “Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2008.