Carolina Herrera Spring 2011: Botanicals, Gowns and Gaucho Hats

Carolina Herrera runways always resemble elegant cotillion walks, and spring 2011 continues the tradition with pantsuits, botanical graphica and gaucho hats added in.

To say that Carolina Herrera turns out consistent, predictable collections is meant as the highest compliment, given that her consistency lies in an ability to spin worldly materials into unwaveringly beautiful formalwear. Not everyone is wearing these gowns and suits, but that's obviously not the point: No one can say that they're not gorgeously crafted.

Aside from the tactile givens -- vibrant color, crisp tailoring, etc. -- spring brought with it a few accents veering off from the traditional, if ever so slightly. There was an empire waist over a front drop-bustle, a plunging peep-hole neckline on a column dress and pajama-like lines on an otherwise dressed-up white pantsuit.

Dramatic gaucho hats, a sort of couture version of the traditional cowboy toppers found in the neighboring countries to Herrera's native Venezuela, provided an oomph to the styling. The florals presented were no shrinking violets, appearing in super-sized antique seed packet graphics and embroidered appliques.

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