One doesn’t spend over 30 years in the fashion industry without learning a thing or two, but a recent interview with Carolina Herrera reveals that the Venezuelan designer came into the business with plenty of opinions, a strong sense of self, and the remarkable ability to drive a hard bargain — even with Andy Warhol.
Herrera spoke to the Telegraph about her years spent at New York’s Studio 54, recounting the time she
bamboozled commissioned three portraits out of Warhol in exchange for some jewelry.
“Andy loved beauty and clothes and jewellery,” she says. “One day I was wearing some Van Cleef and I said, you paint me and I give you this.”
Savvy woman, I remark. “Yes, now it is worth millions and it was such fun going to The Factory to get it done. He took 50 Polaroids and then he did three portraits. In one, the earrings are red, the other one green, and I can’t remember the other colour.”
Herrera, naturally, also has some thoughts about present-day trends — and has her own style so honed she could get ready for the Met Costume Institute Gala in minutes.
“Unfortunately there’s a lot of confusion today over what is sexy and what is vulgar. It’s horrifying. They say, ‘Oh, that girl is so sexy’, and she turns around and the dress is four sizes too small. Or she’s wearing so much stuff, you wonder how long it took her to get ready.” Herrera’s uniform – big skirts, tailored shirts, mannish trousers – is so honed that she claims she can get ready for the grandest do in 10 minutes. “But women don’t want to be called elegant now,” she reflects, “because they connect it with old-fashioned. But elegance is not old‑fashioned.”
Anyone else get the distinct impression she’s talking about a Kardashian?