I am fascinated and inspired by modern, independent women who live a life of purpose, who love beauty as something that is essentially simple and authentic. So, when I was first introduced to Cuban-American artist Carmen Herrera, her captivating work and her unbelievable story - I was immediately inspired. What followed was an exciting collaboration on my Spring/Summer 2017 collection that took me from the Paris runway to New York for one season only. A collection I hold close to my heart and a friendship I will always cherish.
It all began when I visited the inaugural exhibition at the new Whitney Museum of American Art in 2015 and first saw “Blanco y Verde”, a striking white plane in two pieces with a green arrow-shaped triangle by Carmen Herrera. I had never heard of the artist and happened to later meet Carmen on May 31st, 2016, which was her 101st birthday. She liked our meeting and we collaborated in translating her stunning sense of color and proportion for my Spring/Summer 2017 collection.
I set out to translate her abstract, geometric lines which captured my mind and heart into a woman’s body language expressed in a relaxed and refined wardrobe. The starting point was Carmen’s Blanco y Verde (1966), and from there I was drawn to the red, orange, brown, white and black patterns of Iberia no. 25 (1948), Venetian Red, White and Black (1949) and her more reduced black and white striped piece, Untitled (1952). It is a subjective process of choosing from a multitude of options the one that blends emotion and purpose perfectly.
It was one of the most rewarding experiences as a fashion designer to transform her strict linearity into women’s clothing.