– Carolina Herrera
When Carolina Herrera appointed Wes Gordon to succeed her as creative director of her eponymous line in 2018, he knew he had some well-heeled shoes to fill. Known for her innate elegance, femininity, and impeccable manners—not to mention her signature “quiet luxury” style—Venezuelan-born Herrera has always been her own best brand ambassador.
“I entered Herrera with the utmost respect and reverence,” recalls Gordon, who put on his first show for the house in the spring of 2019. “Every decision I make in the studio is made with respect for past, as well as consistently thinking about what women want to wear now and tomorrow.”
– Carolina Herrera
But if the business of preserving a legacy built by the grand dame of American fashion while reimagining it for a new generation weighs heavy on the designer, you wouldn’t know it. “I am a very romantic person,” he says. “I eschew cold modernism, and I have always been a bit of an old soul in my embrace of beautiful things from the past, while also being focused on what’s next.”
For Gordon, stepping into the top role at an established brand known for its glamour, drama, and sophistication has only fueled his creative spirit. “So many different types of women come to Herrera to find beautiful pieces,” says the creative director. “It’s my responsibility to make sure there’s something for each and every one of them.”
– Wes Gordon
An Atlanta native who attended London’s ultra-prestigious Central Saint Martins art school, Gordon made his way to New York City post-graduation to launch his own line of womenswear. He presented his collection from 2010-2016, receiving the Fashion Group International’s Rising Star Award and a nod as a finalist for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund during that time.
Running his own company prepared him for his current role. “When I had my own collection, I was intimately involved in every nature of the business, from sketches all the way to the collection being in the store and interacting with the customer,” explains Gordon. “That wholistic knowledge has informed me as a creative director. Working with customers taught me so much about how women want to dress.”
As part of his work at Carolina Herrera, Gordon has also made it a point to continue the house’s dedication to women’s empowerment through a collaboration with the Social Justice Center (SJC) at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) on an educational partnership with female students. The Carolina Herrera Social Justice Scholars Program supports one female student over the course of her four years of study at the school.
“The message of women’s empowerment through education is incredibly important to us at Herrera,” states Gordon. “Continuing on Mrs. Herrera’s long-standing relationship with FIT—who has one of the most extensive archives of Mrs. Herrera’s designs—it was a natural partnership.”
– Wes Gordon
The partnership is one both parties are deeply proud of. “The Social Justice Center at FIT is a first-of-its-kind higher education initiative established to provide increased educational opportunities for BIPOC students to prepare them for successful careers in creative industries,” says FIT President Dr. Joyce F. Brown.
“In collaboration with partners like Wes Gordon and Carolina Herrera, we’re breaking down systemic barriers, building a talent pipeline, and ensuring that BIPOC professionals are equipped and encouraged to achieve their full potential. Through the work that Wes is doing with the Social Justice Center, we’re helping to cultivate diverse talent at the college level and preparing students to eventually take positions with influential voices in the creative industries.”
Despite his storied career and many years in the industry, Gordon still turns to his surroundings when he needs inspiration. “I am constantly finding inspiration through travel, museums, exhibitions and everyday life in New York City,” he says. “I’m surrounded by women—whether it’s my team, the atelier, or our clients—who inspire me every day in their approach to dressing. There’s nothing more exciting than walking into a party and seeing a woman in multiple pieces of Herrera. I’m excited to continue to build upon our brand codes and evolve, tweak, and push those forward.”
There are two Carolina Herrera stores located within the Brookfield Properties portfolio: Iconic Collection destinations Shops at Merrick Park in Coral Gables, FL and The Shops at La Cantera in San Antonio, TX.