Behind the Wheel with Carolina Herrera

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Carolina Herrera is one of the most influential designers of our time. It’s no wonder the fashion icon has graced three out of the last four covers of Haute Living Magazine.

Gearing up to celebrate 30 years as a forerunner in fashion seems almost like a small feat in terms of the Carolina Herrera brand, and I stress almost. Perhaps this is due in part to the fact that the divine Herrera stakes claim to a proverbial laundry list of deserved accomplishments a mile long. Adding to the list the honor of being named this September’s Mercedes-Benz Presents Designer does, however, seem to have her giddy: “I’m honored,” she chirped. “Flattered!” An excitement that is only fueled by the fact that CH is a card-holding member of the I’ve Always Had a Mercedes Club. This, of course, makes the marriage between the brands all the more appropriate—they say it’s always best to have a lot in common before walking down the aisle, or runway in this instance.

And the admiration is indeed shared: “Carolina Herrera is iconic to New York City,” were the very matter-of-fact words of Mercedes-Benz Director of Communications Geoff Day, a man I’ve often described as being most eloquent. “Choosing her as this season’s Mercedes-Benz Presents Designer represents the strength of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and the bright future it will have at Lincoln Center.” And as much as I may regret admitting this about Sir Day: He’s rarely wrong about these things.

When I last had the chance to chat with Carolina, we were taking in her Spring 2010 collection for the second time. We weren’t in the confines of a Bryant Park-based super tent complete with state-of-the-art porta-potties, however. No, this time we watched from a clothed round table in a room full of Miami philanthropists, who were obviously thrilled to have purchased tickets in support of the annual Guardians of the Children luncheon. And as I witnessed from my seat to her right hand side, some were even more delighted to congratulate her on her newly acquired American citizenship and shamelessly proceeded to ask for her support in their newest vested interests i.e., running for some two-bit position in office. As I nibbled on fashion-friendly greens, I made a somewhat brilliant observation: Carolina’s aesthetic isn’t forced, nor is her interaction with fans; she is every bit the elegance that her collections exude.

We at Haute Living have vested interests of our own—we choose to fill our pages with the people who have the wherewithal to shake industries at the core, leaving them forever changed. In a world of well-informed consumers with strong opinions and desires, it takes a leader of industry with strong courage of conviction to make any sort of dent. Carolina Herrera, with a very clear approach to sophisticated dressing, has managed to carve out an entire niche.

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