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Carolina Herrera: 1939—: Fashion Designer Biography - Married Twice Into Venezuelan Elite, Built Successful Fashion Line, Expanded Business In New Directions

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Carolina Herrera: 1939—: Fashion designer.

Carolina Herrera's designs offer a certain chic, well-heeled style, with a classic feminine sensibility, for her devoted base of women clients. The Venezuelan-born couturier, who led a life chronicled in the pages of fashion magazines well before her first dress went out on a runway, creates suits, sportswear, formal gowns, and all manner of accoutrements in the mid- to stratospheric price range, and her business is one of the most prosperous in the industry. Her success, remarked Town & Country writer Annette Tapert, could ostensibly be attributed to a sixth sense for knowing how for how women like to dress, but Tapert added that "Herrera has another great asset: her own image. Her manners are flawless. She speaks English with an irresistible Latin clip and accent, in a voice that is soft and lilting. But most of all, there is her beauty, a noble kind that evokes the Renaissance paintings of the Spanish infantas…. In a time when true elegance good manners and intrinsic femininity are hard to come by, Herrera is an inspirational figure."

Yet Herrera, explained Women's Wear Daily (WWD) writer Lorna Koski, was "hardly bred for … business success. She was born, in fact, on another, much more languid planet, the lost world of the traditional Latin-American aristocracy." She was christened Maria Carolina Josefina Pacanins y Niño not long after her arrival in Venezuela's capital city of Caracas in 1939. One of four daughters, Herrera was raised in relative ease and luxury. Her family's roots in South America stretched back some 400 years, and her father was both a former governor of Caracas as well as an air force officer and aviation pioneer. Herrera's mother was devoted to fashion, as was her grandmother, and as a youngster Herrera traveled regularly with them when they went to Paris to have their clothes made at the ateliers of the great couturiers of the era, such as the House of Lanvin, Cristobal Balenciaga, and Yves Saint Laurent.

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