Carolina Herrera on Personal Style

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While springtime rolled into the Windy City, fall fashion was featured on the catwalk as Carolina Herrera visited Chicago to showcase her Fall/Winter 2013 Collection at Terzo Piano in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute. The event was hosted/produced by Saks Fifth Avenue, and proceeds benefited A Better Chicago, whose mission is to make an impact in our communities by helping to improve low-income neighborhoods by creating opportunities. Ms. Herrera sat down with Cindy Burns to discuss her designs…

Describe the 1940s style relevant to your Fall 2013 Collection. I usually don’t think of a whole collection being inspired by an era. For the Fall 2013 collection, it was just a hint of the ‘40s. I was more interested in the details like the shoulders and small waists rather than the whole look representing that era.

Your impeccable, elegant style has been evident over the 33 years you’ve been a fashion designer. Who has influenced you? Fashion is a repetition of ideas, but the key is to know how to make it new and your own. I try not to follow trends. Seeing everyone in the same thing is not amusing and fashion needs to be fun – it has to be. I see many women on the street trying to copy what they see on the runway and more times than not they look like they’re wearing a costume. You must find something that makes you feel confident, beautiful and – above all else – that shows your personality.

Who would you like to see wear Carolina Herrera designs? The Carolina Herrera woman isn’t afraid to be feminine, elegant and chic. I love to see women wearing my clothes whether on the street or at a party. It’s the best compliment in the world when someone tells me they feel great in a dress or skirt I’ve designed.

Who is your all­-time ‘icon of style?’ The women that are consistent in their personal style and wear their look with confidence.

Describe your personal style in one word. Style is something very personal. It’s not only about your clothes, but about knowledge, manners, the way one moves, talks and wears the clothes that make it personal. I don’t think you can describe personal style in one word.

What is a must­-have for traveling? I always have my diary and a small picture of the Virgin Mary that I have had since I was little. No matter where I am in the world, they are always placed on my nightstand.

Proudest moment as a designer. I don’t I have one moment in particular, but I love that as a designer I can make women feel beautiful and confident. Also, completing a collection and seeing it go down the runway knowing how much work went into the clothes is always a special moment for me. We just had our bridal runway show and seeing those thirty dresses presented knowing they will be worn by brides all over the world is magical.

Who gave you the best business advice over the years? My mother always said, ‘You can do anything with discipline.’

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About Cindy Burns

Currently writing for TCW's 'Woman About Town' column, Cindy Burns covers Chicago's social scene, events, fashion, and interviews women and men who are making a difference in the world. With an M.A. in American History from DePaul University, Ms. Burns is an author, freelance writer, avid reader and researcher. Ms. Burns has spent over 20 years serving on charitable boards and organizations, and currently serves as a member of the Women's Board of the Joffrey Ballet and the Women's Auxiliary Board of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicago. She is also an Honorary Member of the Children's Service Board of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital. When Ms. Burns isn't running around Chicago covering current events, you can find her biking, on the tennis courts, or hiking in a mountainous region of her choice.