In her last couple of outings, Carolina Herrera has explored the arty side of her oeuvre, getting baroque with her fabric combinations or heavily embellishing them. That's been to the detriment of her refined, elegant message and, no doubt, to the quiet despair of the ladies who love it. So it was a positive development that she came back to the ultra-luxe side of things for Fall, and for the most part, employed a lighter, more familiar hand. The designer limited herself to brushstroke prints and floral embroideries, while letting silhouette, bold colors like Prussian blue and deep red, and sable fur (plenty of it) do the talking.
Delivering on her "Lady of the Sleeves" reputation, Herrera puffed up the volume on the arms of day dresses and off-the-shoulder evening versions alike. There was a fullness, too, to high-waisted, fluid trousers that were paired with grand white blouses or statement-making jackets and coats—the former in, say, crocodile with matching wool sleeves, and the latter in camel double-faced cashmere and sable. The teenage models inevitably strained to pull off these looks as confidently as the rather older target customer eventually will. After all, these ladylike clothes require the kind of bank balance and sophisticated good taste it takes a few years to attain.
The evening dresses will be no less pricey, but they're likely to find a wider audience. Ranging from an understated strapless black faille column to an embroidered tulle confection with a pouf below the knees, they look destined for heavy rotation on the social circuit. A silk moiré number with a chic organza bolero, in particular, will have Herrera's gals fighting for first dibs. The disconnect between day and night was a bit jarring, but the collection nonetheless felt more like familiar Herrera territory than her recent efforts, and was the better for it.