NYFW: Martha Stewart Front Row at Carolina Herrera "Super Bloom" Show

Courtesy of Carolina Herrera
Looks from the Carolina Herrera spring-summer 2020 collection designed by Wes Gordon

“I’ve spent the past year-and-a half at Herrera really trying to establish our brand codes as color, print and the exuberance of joyful, beautiful clothes,” says creative director Wes Gordon, who drew inspiration from California’s wildflower super bloom.

None other than Martha Stewart turned out for the spring-summer 2020 Carolina Herrera fashion presentation on Monday at the Garden of the Battery in lower Manhattan. Wearing a sleek, chocolate-colored leather zip-front jacket, off-white pleated skirt, platform espadrilles in brown leather and a crisp white shirt — possibly a nod to the Herrera house signature — Stewart’s neutral palette was a sharp contrast to the bold burst of color and print that creative director Wes Gordon has brought to the brand.

Also seated front row was a motley crew (a sign of new times at the house) including producer Jordan Roth, Sabrina Elba, Janet Mock, Pose star Angel Bismark Curiel, Valentina from RuPaul’s Drag Race, Vanessa Hudgens, supermodel Karlie Kloss and Herrera herself.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by CAROLINA HERRERA (@carolinaherrera) on

The garden setting was a cue to the show’s floral focus, sure to bring a flurry of blooms to the red carpet during awards season. For inspiration, Gordon looked to California’s super bloom of wildflowers. “I was visually inspired by it and also philosophically,” Gordon told The Hollywood Reporter. “I was captivated and mesmerized by the images. It was impossible to miss! I mean, it took over the whole Instagram feed, every news story. And the idea of these wildflowers (the verbena, the lilies, the poppies) in a drought using all of their energy to overproduce seeds so that their species carries on. Then a rainy year follows and 99 percent of the seeds grow, so suddenly this once-barren field is a carpet, as far as the eye can see, of color and flowers!”

The show opened with fresh variations of the traditional pillars of the Herrera uniform: a crisp white shirt, a volumized maxi skirt and a wide belt. Gordon injected new proportions, such as volumized sleeves throughout, and his blown-out florals sometimes morphed into lovely, arty abstraction. On some looks, the fabric was beautifully twisted, pleated or ruffled to resemble plants or blossoms.

Another standout moment, aside from the sublime florals, was a series of dresses (and one short and jacket look) in fun plays on black-and-white polka dots, considered “the veritable neutral of the house of Herrera,” according to show notes.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Given that his first collection for the house was resort 2019, Gordon said that he is still working to create his own imprint on the revered label: “I’ve spent the past year-and-a half at Herrera really trying to establish our brand codes as color, print, and the exuberance of joyful, beautiful clothes. I really saw that magnified in the super bloom and I wanted to capture just a little bit of that energy in today’s collection. That’s why we chose this venue, as well, which is actually the largest perennial garden in North America that’s open to the public. This is a very special spot. It is where everyone would arrive before being taken to Ellis Island. This is where the first responders were based for Sept. 11. And the gardens are magnificent.”

When a journalist told Gordon that he was destined for his role at Herrera, he said, “I’m actually a little bit sad when it’s Friday. It’s a job I love!”