The Frick Collection hasn’t opened its doors for a fashion show. Through the years, many designers have asked, but the answer was always no. This year Carolina Herrera heard yes. The skylit atrium is a transporting place; its Beaux Arts grandeur may have tempted Herrera to look back in its history for inspiration, but she’s a resolutely modern-minded designer. She’s been quick to embrace high-tech materials and find out ways to incorporate them into her tony, uptown aesthetic. This year, more than ever, she put them to work.
On a preshow tour through her backstage dressing area, the buzzword was pleats, however, not old-fashioned pleats. Herrera’s are trompe l’oeil, narrow bands of tech fabric stitched onto transparent mesh of different densities. Sometimes the tulle disappeared on the skin-and sheer paneling hasn’t looked more decorous or discreet. On other pieces, it had been thicker, almost like athletic mesh, creating a sporty mien. The next talking point was pink. “I’m in my own rose period,” Herrera said. From a flirty day dress (real pleats, not trompe l’oeil) in a delicate shade of blush to an embroidered shift in raspberry suede, there is no shortage of the shade, and it did an excellent job of warming up the somewhat clinical feel of the synthetic materials. For all those not predisposed to pink, there have been a few other frocks in black and white and a nice-looking, vaguely New Look suit in midnight blue flocked velvet. Herrera was wanting to avoid prints because she’s done them frequently previously. Like we said, resolutely modern-minded. Still, that rose-print slip dress was awfully pretty.

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