Carolina Herrera promised a “modern garden” setting for her spring collection, “but it won’t be topiary!” she said, laughing. Instead, her models navigated a stage that was planted with towering conical green sculptures suggesting a formal planting of cypress trees—a metaphor, perhaps, for a collection that was all about modern structure.

“It’s an uncomplicated collection,” said Mrs. Herrera, “very simple lines with important details. It’s very much for now.”

The designer had been experimenting with “techno fabrics”—variations on piqué, linen, crepe—and using their inherent body to create the dramatic silhouettes, leaving them unlined and the edges raw and manipulating the shapes through tucking and folding (there was a Kabuki element to the hair, too). At times, the clothes mixed neoprenes with the classic textiles that Mrs. Herrera loves, from fluttering silk-chiffons to stately gazar, so that their severe lines were prettily blurred.


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Mrs. Herrera also took her beloved flower prints (tulip, magnolia, gardenia, rose) but modernized those in an exciting way, blowing the photo-print images up large and splicing them with rectangular bars of pretty, ombré-shaded tones that represented the blooms’ color codes. For a brace of finale ball gowns, those flowers were blown into splinters and re-embroidered with chunks of plastic sequin, while other embroideries of scattered bugle beads resembled molecular patterns in a research scientist’s laboratory.

The shapes had a futurist, couture flavor to them that was nevertheless eminently wearable—from the boxy jackets and tops worn with stiff, A-line short skirts to the ball gowns that, although stately of silhouette, had a lightness of touch with these innovative new fabrics, especially when worn with the espadrille-soled sandals.