What’s good, America? GRAZIA USA asks fashion industry leaders and influential voices to share their secrets to a life well-lived: from the small delights of daily coffee orders to thought-provoking literature and more complex topics like sustainability and social activism. Welcome to #GOODQuestions.
Here, we chat with fashion designer Wes Gordon of Carolina Herrera about the Fall Winter 2021 collection unveiled during New York Fashion Week.
#GOODQuestions With Wes Gordon
How was the process of sourcing and designing different this season compared to past seasons?
Since the pandemic began a year ago, I have designed four collections, and each season has brought new challenges and learnings. For example, safety protocols have impacted workload capacities for workrooms and factories, resulting in smaller collection sizes. Therefore, each piece has to be something extraordinary and perfect. I am a firm believer that every challenge is also an opportunity and I think the industry as a whole has displayed its resilience and perseverance in remarkably creative ways.
Who or what was the source of inspiration for the collection?
This collection is our love letter to New York. 2021 is Herrera’s 40th year as a cornerstone of American fashion. We wanted this collection to be a celebration of everything we love about this city – our atelier, the people, the places.
Do you have any day of show rituals that bring you good luck?
I don’t actually…maybe I need to come up with one?
What’s your favorite look or piece from the collection and why?
It varies by the minute but currently look #30 – a slip dress with a combination of blue and green sequins and a pink organza ruffle is the perfect combination of elegance and cool.
Who is the woman you design for? Who is your muse?
I often think of Mrs. Herrera herself when she started the collection in 1981 – the confidence it took for her as a recent immigrant and mother of 4 to start her own line and present it to the industry. The boldness, fearlessness and fabulousness of that woman is a constant inspiration.
What measures did your team take to work efficiently but stay safe while producing this collection? How has COVID-19 affected the way that your brand has approached fashion week and the presentation of new collections?
Our top priority is the safety and health of our employees. While our design team and atelier are practicing social distancing and all recommended safety measures, team members who don’t have to be in the office continue to work from home. Obviously we aren’t able to put on fashion shows in the way that Herrera historically has so this is a moment that requires innovation with creative new ways to tell our story.
In what way do you hope your collection makes a positive impact?
Right now, the world very much needs color, beauty and joy. These are the tools we have at our disposal as a fashion house to make the world brighter. It has been such a dark year and fashion should be a source of light.
Do you think it’s important virtual shows recreate the vibe of a show or create an entirely new experience?
No. There is extraordinary potential for new ideas and storytelling with digital shows. Thinking of them merely as a stand-in for in person shows is a wasted opportunity. The magic of fashion shows is the living, breathing, and celebration of a complete vision – lighting, models, atmosphere, hair, makeup, music….it is the creation of a world. As a brand we hope we can show in person again as soon as we are able to, but we will definitely take the learnings and discoveries from connecting with our global audience digital over the past year well into consideration.
Were there any experiences or lessons that you’ll take away from this unique season?
Now more than ever, teamwork is so important. This industry consists of the most compassionate, hardworking and dedicated people imaginable and in a time of many obstacles, limited resources, logistical and safety challenges, being able to collaborate and work as a group is more crucial than ever.
Tell us about a favorite fashion week memory.
There are two – the first time I did a fashion show instead of a presentation for my own collection was one that I won’t forget and Mrs. Herrera’s last presentation when I came out and shared a bow with her at the end – that was also unforgettable.
What were you watching most while designing this season?
I was first working on this collection during when The Queens Gambit came out – Mia Farrow is also an eternal muse so there are some of those gamine silhouettes.
Current fave songs you listened to while working on this collection?
Megan Thee Stallion and Mika.
What’s your morning routine? What’s the first app you open each day?
Everyday at 7am I take my dog Bird for a walk- rain or shine I never get a pass – and Instagram.
Who in your life brings you good vibes and positive energy every day?
My husband Paul.
What makes your day go from good to great?
Laughter, a good fitting, and chocolate.
Quote to live by? Quote you love?
“There’s no such thing as bad experience.”
Best news of the year for you so far?
That we’re expecting our first baby in June.
What won’t you miss about last year?
Not being able to see my friends and family.
What’s the last good book you read?
Barack Obama’s A Promised Land.
What helps you connect with your inner grace and goodness?
Weekends at our farm in Connecticut.
What is your fave recipe to make?
I never cook.
Define what a good life means to you.
Friends, family, animals, health, and spending your time doing something you’re passionate about.
What is the last thing you do before bed
Check my schedule for tomorrow.