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Carolina Herrera

Venezuelan, American, b. 1939

Born into a family of wealth and sophistication in Caracas, Venezuela, but without a trace of design education, Carolina Herrera launched her eponymous fashion empire in 1981. Modeling her aesthetic on the principles of refined, simple elegance, she has gone on to defy all expectations.

Style, that elusive je ne sais quoi, is often hard-won, acquired over years of experimentation and missteps. Precious few are born with it. Carolina Herrera may well be one of them. And if she wasn’t born with it, she was most assuredly born into it, raised by wealthy and refined women in the most rarefied of circumstances back in Venezuela. Her mother and her grandmother were both perfectly put together, had their own dressmakers — even a live-in seamstress. Everything within Herrera’s reach at home was of the utmost quality. Hers was a privileged life, and no one appreciates that fact more than she. 

Herrera brought that aesthetic to her first collection of clothing and accessories in 1981, encouraged by éminence grise Diana Vreeland, then the editor in chief of Vogue. Herrera was initially interested in designing textiles (she worked in a publicity role for Emilio Pucci — the iconic clothing and housewares maker — during the 1960s). It was Vreeland who planted the fashion seed. When it took root, Herrera returned to Caracas, and with the help of Guy Mellier, her personal couturier, she came up with a collection she felt was New York–ready. She never studied fashion and didn’t know how to cut or sew. “What I understood was proportion, and I had a good eye.” She knew not only what looked good on her but also on other women, too. 

Herrera unveiled her first collection at the Metropolitan Club on Fifth Avenue. The fashion press was hard on her; “they didn’t have faith,” is how she explains it today. But how about the women in the audience, did they like what they saw? Herrera leans in and says with a smile, “A lot!” The buyers liked the collection, too — enough to place orders. (And they’re still placing orders.)

She quickly became synonymous with sophistication for her glamorous evening dresses, which eventually earned accolades in magazines, prime real estate in Manhattan boutique windows and a heavyweight client roster that included Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. 

As her business has evolved — in 2010 it reached $1 billion in sales — so has Herrera herself. In the 1970s and before she became a designer, she used to dance until the wee hours at Studio 54, pal around with Calvin Klein, Bianca Jagger, Halston and Andy Warhol. Through all the madness — every bit of which she enjoyed — she remained unscathed. No scandals, no gossip, no whispers. She’s been famously photographed by Robert Mapplethorpe, Arthur Elgort, Norman Parkinson, David Seidner, Mario Testino, Bruce Weber and, yes, Ron Galella. (“I’ve never said no to the paparazzi,” she explains. “I smile, let them take the picture and move on.”)

Find a collection of vintage Carolina Herrera shoes, shirts, day dresses, handbags and more on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$722
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New Carolina Herrera 2022 Purple & Red Column Dress W Draped Overdress $5990
By Carolina Herrera
Located in Portland, OR
This Carolina Herrera Spring / Summer 2022 evening dress is brand new with the tags still attached. Wes Gordon's 2022 designs for Carolina Herrera are some of his best and this dress...
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2010s American Carolina Herrera

CAROLINA HERRERA Size 2 Red Polyester Blend Lace Peplum Blouse
By Carolina Herrera
Located in San Francisco, CA
CAROLINA HERRERA blouse comes in a red polyester blend featuring a peplum style, back lace panel, and a single button closure. Very Good Pre-Owned Condition. Marked: 2 Measurem...
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21st Century and Contemporary Carolina Herrera

CAROLINA HERRERA Size 4 Grey Purple Wool Heather Belted Dress
By Carolina Herrera
Located in San Francisco, CA
CAROLINA HERRERA dress comes in a grey and purple heather wool fabric featuring two pockets, sleeveless style, a-line silhouette, belt at back and full back zipper closure. Very Good...
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21st Century and Contemporary Carolina Herrera

CAROLINA HERRERA Size 8 Navy Brown Cotton Blend Ombre Sleeveless Dress
By Carolina Herrera
Located in San Francisco, CA
CAROLINA HERRERA dress comes in a navy & brown ombre cotton blend featuring an a-line style, belted, pleated, sleeveless, and a front buttoned closure. Made in USA. Very Good Pre-Own...
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21st Century and Contemporary Carolina Herrera

CAROLINA HERRERA Size L Burgundy Grey Wool Stripe Sheath Dress
By Carolina Herrera
Located in San Francisco, CA
CAROLINA HERRERA dress comes in a burgundy & grey knitted stripe wool featuring a sheath style, sleeveless, and a ribbed hem. Made in Italy. New With Tags. Marked: L Measurem...
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21st Century and Contemporary Carolina Herrera

CAROLINA HERRERA Size 10 Red Black Cotton Color Block Sheath Dress
By Carolina Herrera
Located in San Francisco, CA
CAROLINA HERRERA dress comes in a red & black color block cotton featuring a sheath style, sleeveless, grosgrain trim, and a back zip up closure. Very Good Pre-Owned Condition. Mar...
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21st Century and Contemporary Carolina Herrera

Carolina Herrera Black Cady Flared Midi Dress L
By Carolina Herrera
Located in Dubai, Al Qouz 2
Experience the joy of expert tailoring with this designer dress for women. Meticulously made, it offers a flawless fit and luxe details, ensuring unmatched comfort. This beautiful cr...
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2010s Italian Carolina Herrera

CAROLINA HERRERA Size 4 Navy Silk Asymmetrical Sleeveless Blouse
By Carolina Herrera
Located in San Francisco, CA
CAROLINA HERRERA sleeveless blouse comes in a navy silk featuring an asymmetrical hem and a back zip up closure. Good Pre-Owned Condition. Marked: 4 Measurements: Shoulder: ...
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21st Century and Contemporary Carolina Herrera

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Carolina Herrera fashion for sale on 1stDibs.

Find an extraordinary range of authentic Carolina Herrera fashion available on 1stDibs. If you’re browsing our collection of unique vintage and designer fashion to elevate your daily look or to introduce new colors to the dazzling formal wear in your wardrobe, this designer’s body of work includes elements of blue, pink, red and other tones. Customers who are interested in this designer might also find the work of Galanos, Donna Karan, and James Galanos appealing. On 1stDibs, find haute couture, vintage and designer Carolina Herrera fashion from top boutiques around the world. Carolina Herrera fashion prices can differ depending upon time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $95 and tops out at $45,000, while the average work can sell for $499.

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