Carolina Herrera became a designer after she was warned her original career plan was too boring.
The 76-year-old star was known for her elegant style long before she became a designer, thanks to her association with people like Sir Mick Jagger and love of Studio 54. Eventually she realised she could make a career in fashion, so turned to her pal Diana Vreeland for advice.
“[She was] a very, very interesting woman, intelligent, very for-the-moment,” Carolina told Elle’s Robbie Myers for a Masterclass Q&A.
“[I told her about my idea for fabrics and] she said to me, ‘Well that is the most boring thing that you are telling me. Why don’t you do a fashion collection for women.’ She gave me the idea.”
Halston also handed out some words of advice, although they weren’t quite as encouraging as Diana’s had been.
“’What have you been drinking? Are you mad?'” Carolina remembers he said.
The star went on to forge a career in elegance, although she joked that despite what many people think she doesn’t always wear a white shirt.
What’s important to Carolina is that her clothes make the most out of a woman’s shape, which is why she has always bucked against the idea of trends.
I want women to look like real women, I do not want them to look like clowns because of what’s in fashion,” she said. “I like fashion to be for now and for the future. You cannot only be for the past… like everybody in life – painters, musicians – you have to evolve. You have to live in the times that we live in.
~ Carolina Herrera
Two of the star’s daughters have followed her into her fashion house, but Carolina insists they only ever have “tiny” disagreements so it works well for the most part. She also opened up about the role social media is now playing in fashion, with the label amassing many followers on places like Facebook and Instagram. She sees this as a positive thing, but doesn’t let it drive her.
“You have to listen to the likes, dislikes and whatever they say — that’s the excitement of social media. But if you start reading all the messages, you will not have a life. It’s impossible to read all of them,” she said.