Wes Gordon created costumes for one of the performances at the American Ballet Theatre’s fall gala. The experience left a big impression on him. His pre-fall collection for Carolina Herrera is inspired by dance, but not just of the ballet variety; there are numbers here with a Bob Mackie-dresses-Cher vibe, and others that channel Mrs. Herrera à la flamenco.
The takeaway is exuberance. Even when he’s working in an everyday—and presumably entry-level price point—material like cotton, Gordon brings the drama, whether that’s with extreme puffed sleeves, or a waistline whittled by ruching. More often than not, though, he’s designing special occasion attire. It’s no surprise that the red column dress with blooming overskirt worn by Meghan Markle to the Salute to Freedom Gala at the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum earlier this fall opens this lookbook. With a red carpet moment like that, he’s bound to sell a lot of those.
Gordon loves a bow, and this collection was rife with them: replacing buttons on a trim car coat, spanning the back of a cocktail dress, trailing behind another like train. He’s plenty fond of flowers and ruffles too. A yellow gladiola print on a purple ground was eye-catching and on brand, where the ruffles tracing the back of over-the-knee boots were something of a departure.
Exuberance, of course, has always been essential chez Herrera. Where she brought a sense of grandeur to the mix, Gordon just as often imbues his clothes with a cheeky youthfulness: the flashes of midriff on a sweetheart bodice dress, the yards and yards of tulle trimmed into topiary shapes on another party number, a corseted balconette that clasps the torso of a shorts suit. A stirrup-heeled jumpsuit with an extravagant sweep of baby blue ruffle across the bodice has cross-generational potential.