Singapore has quickly become Southeast Asia's fashion hub in recent years with global designers and fashion houses presenting their collections in the Lion City, the latest one being Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. At the recently concluded Audi Fashion Festival, one of the pillars of the Asia Fashion Exchange, designer Carolina Herrera and her daughter Carolina Herrera de Baez were in town to present their collections for both Carolina Herrera and the diffusion line, CH.
Carolina sat down with Audi Fashion Festival Creative Director Colin McDowell and talked about her first visit to Singapore and about her collection.
"I am showing 'real clothes'. Sometimes, shows are no longer about the clothes but about the shows themselves, it's become a spectacle. For Singapore's Audi Fashion Festival, I am showing a bit of the Carolina Herrera collection from New York. The show is something new because the collection from New York was inspired by music. I collaborated with an English composer called Tom Hodge. We took the Beethoven concerto and he arranged the piece of music for the collection [appropriately entitled Capriccio for Carolina] before I designed the collection. It had drama, and the collection was inspired by the melancholy of the music. It was quite amazing because it was very different. I was inspired by the music before the collection came out."
Prior to Carolina Herrera formally opening the Audi Fashion Festival with the presentation of both the CH and Carolina Herrera collections that first night, I went backstage for a brief and casual one- on- one conversation with the regal designer.
Ingrid (IC): Carolina, I need to know-- and many, many inquiring minds want to know as well, what is your secret to looking young and beautiful?
Carolina (CH): *Laughs* You flatter me! But the answer and key to that is really happiness! It's always about being happy and finding happiness in every little thing that you do. Working on the collections and with my daughters always makes me happy. And after Singapore, I am off to see my grandchildren and they keep me feeling young and happy!
IC: I have read that you dote on your grandchildren and let them do whatever they want when they're with you! You're a fun grandmum!
CH: Yes! We are a big family, I have 12 grandchildren. Oh yes, I do spoil them and I think my daughters always get afraid once the children go back to them after spending time with me because they will find it hard to discipline them again! *laughs*
IC: I'm a "bag hag" and I really liked the Mini Matryoshka bag created by your daughter Carolina.
CH: I'm pleased to hear that and so will she! Did you know that we created a Matryoshka bag for Singapore, it has an orchid on it! You must go see it at our boutique in Marina Bay Sands!
IC: I definitely need to check that out! I know you began designing your own label after having been prodded or prompted by Diana Vreeland. But have you always wanted to be in the fashion industry?
CH: When I was younger, my mother used to dress me up, but as I grew older, I already knew I wanted to be well- dressed or rather look my best at all times. I have always had this desire to be in fashion. And here I am now, doing what I love!
IC: How do you find fashion today?
CH: Fashion is not only frivolous, it has to be for your everyday life. I love that fashion is ever changing, as the world is now so different from what it was before. I do find it inspiring to see different styles of women nowadays. There will always be that odd one or two that I might not quite understand but I believe it is the diversity which makes fashion and style interesting overall.
IC: What defines a Carolina Herrera woman?
CH: The Carolina Herrera woman is active, modern, sophisticated and feminine, and lives in the "now". She is aware and makes firm choices. Her style is projected through the clothes she wears and not change every 6 months. She has an emotional and intellectual connection with her clothes.