With her deep-set eyes and alabaster skin, Carolina Herrerawho will receive the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America this Junecould have stepped straight out of a Goya painting. Back in the sixties and seventies, as she jet-setted around the world with her second husband, Reinaldo, and a pack of high-profile pals like Mick Jagger and Jackie Onassis, she favored dramatic ensembles by then emerging Italian designers like Giorgio Armani and Valentino and French couturiers Yves Saint Laurent and Emanuel Ungaro. Dubbed "la bombe" by Diana Vreeland, Herrera's patented blend of classic formality and Latin theatricalityheavy on the Latin theatricalitylanded her in the International Best-Dressed List's Hall of Fame.
Today, at 69, her look is impeccable, as evidenced by those high-collared white blouses and crisp skirts from the atelier that she founded in 1981. But despite her regal mienWWD dubbed her "Our Lady of the Sleeves"the designer is known among friends for her effortless entertaining style and a keen, down-to-earth sense of humor. One story goes that while enjoying a night at the opera, she was pestered by a seatmate for a nail file. Deflecting the request, Herrera joked, "I am a seamstressnot a manicurist."