Carolina Herrera took her final bow Monday night with the elegance and self-possession that have defined her 37-year career. One of the few designers of her generation to accede to succession — Wes Gordon, her understudy for the past few seasons, will take over as of the fall show — she leaves a legacy of glamour and polish that the new generation of luxury consumer has found little use for, in the hands of one of their peers.
The show opened and closed in tribute to Mrs. Herrera, as she has been known to her rank and file. It began with an ode to her tidy daytime uniform of pristine white shirts and black bottoms, and ended with a parade of her once idiosyncratic, now classic evening style — white shirt, belt, sweeping silk faille ball skirt — that went beyond the spectrum of the rainbow.
The proceedings were tender and touching, conducted with the unimpeachable grace that defines Herrera’s public life and brand. No bigger testament to that came than the collection itself. Intro and exit aside, it played more as a hello to Gordon than a goodbye to Herrera.
The tried-and-true decorum-loving lines were drawn yet colored in with a new, light