After 37 years, designer Carolina Herrera announced that she’s stepping down as creative director of her label.
The New York Times reported that the 79-year-old will transition to a ‘global brand ambassador’ role at her company after her final runway show on Monday. Then she’ll hand over the design reigns to Wes Gordon, a designer with his own label who also served as her creative consultant.
Herrera’s departure is especially significant, if not symbolic, as many major American fashion houses are seeing their founders gradually step back from the companies they’ve built. (Diane von Furstenberg is another recent example.) And over her three decades plus in the industry, Herrera has become a household name because of her elegant, ultrafeminine dresses—a favorite across high society and Hollywood. She launched her first collection in 1981, at the time one of only a handful of female designers to lead a brand they founded themselves.
On the red carpet, actresses such as Renée Zellweger, Emmy Rossum, and Reese Witherspoon have repeatedly been photographed wearing Herrera designs. Her gowns have been favored by politically adjacent women from Caroline Kennedy to Michelle Obama; she has also called it an “honor” to dress Melania Trump during Donald Trump’s presidency.
Herrera has run into controversy at times—not just for her comments on dressing FLOTUS, but also for her open dislike of trends she considers too “revealing,” like the naked dress. (She has said she prefers women to wear dresses with “a little mystery.”)
Still, Herrera’s decades-spanning career is one that made a mark on the American fashion landscape. We gathered up looks worn by the women who loved her designs most.
Revisit the so-called ‘muses’ to the House of Herrera, wearing some of Carolina Herrera’s most iconic gowns, below.
PHOTO: IMAGES PRESS Caroline Kennedy, left, wearing a Carolina Herrera wedding gown in 1986