Photo: Daniele Oberrauch / Gorunway.com

Wes Gordon swapped the Plaza Hotel for the Whitney Museum of American Art and put on his biggest show so far at Carolina Herrera. It’s been five years since he took over from the brand founder. There wasn’t any big to-do about an anniversary, but it’s no small accomplishment to hit the five-year mark in today’s fashion industry, when designers are moved in and out of creative director positions so regularly, and even superstars are shown the door. So hats off to him.

He opened with a white shirt, Mrs. Herrera’s signature piece and the garment that earned her the nickname “our lady of the sleeves,” but much of the rest of the collection seemed designed to say it’s his Herrera now. I’m thinking of the yellow mini crini dress or the lilac lace bra top and matching skirt, several inches of bare midriff between them, or the strapless black silk tunic and full-legged trousers. “I really was just thinking of pieces that I want my girlfriends to wear,” Gordon said backstage.

A lot has changed since Carolina and Oscar were dressing the Park Avenue crowd, not least of all the casualization of daywear. When jog bras and performance leggings qualify as fashion, it tests designers to come up with their own equivalencies. Gordon makes a point of using cotton for a lot of things that might have once been made in fancier materials, and he also mixes sportswear with evening pieces. The last look, for example, was a black version of that opening white shirt, paired with a silver sequined pencil skirt. Another of his tendencies has been to de-emphasize floor-length dresses in favor of less formal options. This season was no exception, but a striped powderpuff tulle style demonstrated that, when called upon, he can give good gown.

This article was originally published on Vogue Runway.

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