Carolina Herrera Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear Collection Review — Bauhaus Beautiful

Post-show: friends, family, colleagues, and admirers lined up backstage to greet and applaud yet another breathtakingly beautiful collection from the Madison Avenue matriarch. While fashion has been enjoying somewhat of a love affair with prints for several seasons, the colorful Bauhaus-themed Carolina Herrera Spring 2012 Runway Presentation was not riddled with pixilated or digitized patterns. Researching the aforementioned German school known for combining crafts and fine arts during the early 20th century, I came upon an image of Walter Gropius’ Expressionist Monument to the March Dead; it’s easy to see why the Venezuelan designer was inspired, the structure’s form and movement seem to have particularly influenced the collection’s lovely signature sparrow print. With 41 looks, the palette included canary, peppermint, jade, cornflower, sepia, and grass with black and off-white as neutral foundations.


If the Spring 2012 Runways are any indication, the waist will be next season’s erogenous zone of choice. Wrap belts, panel detailing, and faille inserts helped to define the collection’s feminine silhouette, with most of the presentation dominated by varying styles of dresses (shirt, sheath, shift, halter, gown, boat neck, cap sleeve, one-shoulder, and asymmetrical); only 4 of the 41 looks featured a cropped pleated pant. While, this collection felt sportier, Mrs. Herrera’s soft palette, lightweight fabrications, and delicate detailing remained true to the brand’s inherent aesthetic of ladylike elegance.


While the aviary print seemed to lark and hark back to a quintessential springtime theme, the secondary pattern was a bit more subtle. Slightly abstracted, but never obscured the slits and slivers of stripes and dots connoted the collection’s underlying artistry. The Carolina Herrera Spring 2012 Collection layered textures, prints, and color-ways for a more architectural direction such as a sparrow print blouse paired with a canary woven coat dress or the sparrow print dress with an asymmetrical appliqué. Geometrics were well utilized from prints and panels to inserts and appliqués as exemplified with the red, sepia, and greige stripe print chiffon dress with geometric lace inserts or the canary, yellow, and greige dot print chiffon gown with caviar bead embroidery inserts. Often geometric shapes can feel overly graphic with blocks of black and white, but here the accents of color, embroidery, piping, and beading, particularly with the nude and black dress with linear bead embroidery or the metallic canvas coat with piping detail atop the cornflower top and striped skirt revitalized a familiar concept—softening, modernizing, and elevating classically tailored, yet relaxed pieces.


I’ve never made a secret of it—I LOVECAROLINAHERRERA!!! I know I’m supposed to be objective, but for me her ready-to-wear collection and by extension the brand both go far beyond fashion. Carolina Herrera is the personification of elegance, sophistication, and femininity. She embodies that regal élan and grace that can be seen in her carriage, heard in her voice, and felt by her precise touch—so it is no wonder that those attributes would permeate through her clothing. 

Renée Zellweger, Nicki Minaj, Elizabeth Reaser, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Olivia Munn shared the front row spotlight. “Fashion should be effortless,” noted Carolina Herrera backstage. And this collection was indeed effortless, effortlessly CHIC!


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