The drawing rooms of the Upper East Side that inspired Herrera's Spring show have been replaced by the wide-open spaces of the countryside. But don't think the designer has skimped on the luxury or the embellishments. Trading in painterly florals for a bird print embroidered with marabou feathers, and polka dots for windowpane plaids, she focused primarily on separates: dramatic capes over matching jackets and long, slim pants; cashmere vests layered over printed chiffon blouses and riding pants. A robust tweed overlaid with multicolored organza turned up on a double-breasted vest and a long coat with an exuberantly patterned lining. And there were riding jackets, as her program notes explained, "to grab from the mudroom, over a crinkle chiffon gown for an elegant dinner on the farm." Driving home the rustic-chic message were slouchy, high-heel riding boots and tartan fedoras decked with extravagantly long feathers that bobbed in the runway breeze.
Minus the over-the-top accessories and without the omnipresent feathersall that fresh air can apparently go to a girl's headmost of the pieces could play in the city. Velvet jeans might easily become a staple in Herrera's crowd. A long chartreuse chiffon dress with an asymmetric neckline and a floral jacquard vest worn over a corseted china-blue gown trailing several feet of gazar in its wake are both obviously destined for the Park Avenue party circuit. And wouldn't it be a shame to waste those gorgeous furs (from a cashmere hoodie with patches of mink right on up to the conspicuously grand swakara swing coat) on Sagaponack or Deer Isle, where there's hardly anyone to see you?