For his spring/summer 2023 collection, Carolina Herrera creative director Wes Gordon turned to his favorite childhood novel, The Secret Garden, for inspiration. Here, fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen breaks down the romantic details of note from the show.
The collection was based on a book
In the press notes for his Carolina Herrera show, Wes Gordon wrote: “And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.” The quote was from Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, the designer’s favourite book growing up. Knowing Gordon’s love for romance, you could see why. He credited its whimsical depiction of nature as the inspiration for his spring/summer 2023 show.
The show took place in the Plaza Hotel
As the Upper East Side nature of the Carolina Herrera brand prescribes, Gordon chose the sacred halls of the Plaza Hotel as his venue. Herrera – who was on the front row – staged a show there herself in 1984, and true to Gordon’s approach to the legacy he’s been entrusted with, this collection was an exercise in looking to the future while remembering the past: giving the classic codes of Herrera a contemporary resonance.
It was effortless glamour
Granted, effortless glamour is essentially Herrera’s tagline, but it’s easier said than done. Demonstrating his skill for purified drama, Gordon opened the show with a voluminous striped blouse styled with a floral ball skirt, and not much else but a big pair of earrings. The minimal approach to grandeur continued in wrapped mini dresses that burst out in majestic trains at the back, and clean-cut gowns presented with naked necklines and wrists – all, of course, adorned in Gordon’s romantic flowers.
It wasn’t all ballgowns
In Gordon’s garden of pretty floral prints and volumes, a cinched suit emerged in all-black. It paved the way for tailored silhouettes like a little tweedy shorts suit and a little black jacket neatly sheathed in translucent fabric, as well as a black bustier styled with tapered black trousers, adding a certain realness to the ballroom glamour that underlined the brand’s appeal to a modern audience.
Gordon exercised his ateliers
Because artisanal merit is key to Herrera, the most show-stopping moments came courtesy of craftsmanship: hand-painted tea roses and peonies graced balloon sleeves, flowers seemed to grow from the seams of a poppy-red column dress, the shoulder of a shirt was embellished with magnified flower rosettes, and strands of chiffons adorned with anemone motifs were painstakingly stitched into wrap-effect dresses.
Originally published in Vogue.co.uk