Singing the Praises of Carolina Herrera

by Kelly Laffey Photographed by Carolina Herrera
Thursday, December 8, 2016

On Tuesday, December 6, Lincoln Center honored fashion icon Carolina Herrera with The Women’s Leadership Award. The event brought together Herrera’s biggest fans—including Emmy Rossum and Seth Meyers—and culminated with an intimate, rockstar performance by music legend Diana Ross.

Crowds braved the rain and December temps to don their best black tie outfits and pay tribute to Herrera and her 35 years in the business. The evening began with a cocktail party and presentation of Herrera’s styles in the lobby of Alice Tully Hall, curated by the Savannah College of Art and Design. Guests then made their way to the Starr Theater, where fashion luminaries feted Herrera.

Herrera accepted the award from longtime friend Glenda Bailey, the editor in chief of Harpar’s Bazaar. Her speech was short and sweet, thanking her friends and family, praising the Savannah College of Art and Design for their contributions to art and culture in the southern city; “And Diana Ross, you are the best!” she said.

Ross then took the stage in a show-stopping performance, tantalizing the crowd with hits like “I’m Coming Out,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “I Will Survive.” She was accompanied by three backup singers, but the stage was all hers.

Prior to presenting Herrera with the award, Bailey reflected on her friend’s career, noting that Herrera was initially interested in creating fabrics. Bailey offered up thanks that “Diana Vreeland did an intervention.” She touched on the designer’s class, dignity, effortless style and a memorable piece of advice that Herrera once told her: “When a man puts his hand on your leg, pick it up, put it on the table, and give it a pat.”

Herrera has been married to Reinaldo Herrera Guevara since 1968. Two of her daughters, Carolina Herrera de Baez and Patricia Herrera Lansing, also took the stage to pay tribute to the woman who effortlessly devoted unmatched attention to both her professional and personal life.

Also praising Herrera was Rossum, long an advocate of Herrera’s designs. She because a fan of fashion while singing in the Metropolitan Opera Children’s Chorus, reflecting on the life-changing moment that she was fitted for a dress for a performance. Rossum wore a Carolina Herrera gown on her wedding day, calling the designer “the chicest women alive.”

Seth Meyers, comedian and Late Night with Seth Meyers host, closed out the ceremonies with his own Carolina Herrera wedding dress story. His wife, Alexi Ashe, wore a dress by the designer during the 2013 nuptials. Meyers recalled his wife being the happiest he had ever seen her after she came back from her first fitting—an alarming realization, as the fitting clearly competed with his proposal a few weeks prior. During the rehearsal dinner, Ashe got sick with food poisoning. Despite spending the morning of her wedding day in a hospital bed, Ashe looked stunning as she walked down the aisle that afternoon. That’s the power of a Carolina Herrera dress.


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