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Carolina Herrera Shares Her Style

The fashion designer speaks candidly about her family and what it was like to reinvent herself at age 40

Are you a perfectionist?

Well, I'm a Capricorn (laughs) and I don't like to do things halfway. Attention to detail is of utmost importance when you want to look good.

You have said that fashion must be, above all, pleasing to the eye. How can we look pleasing to the eye without spending a fortune?

Essential pieces — of the best possible quality that fits your budget — are the most important ingredients. It's better to have just a few high-quality things than many things that aren't. Wear a white blouse with black or beige pants, a good-looking belt, a pearl necklace and well-polished shoes, with a pretty purse in a cheerful color such as yellow, and you'll look perfect. In winter, we'll always look good in a beautiful jacket — or a coat of the best cut and quality possible — over a simple blouse or pullover sweater and straight-leg pants. It's a very classic and feminine style. And I feel very well-dressed that way.

Describe for us an ideal wardrobe of essential pieces.

Two pairs of pants (black and beige) and a well-cut skirt of quality fabric. Several white tailored shirts — one cotton, one taffeta and one of embroidered linen. And some striped shirts, which I also like a lot. One pretty jacket or blazer. And one pretty cocktail dress. And I always say it's essential to have a good full-length mirror and a magnifying mirror, so we can put makeup on correctly.

Your collections turned 30 this year, your wedding dresses are what all the girls want to wear — even the character Bella Swan, in the latest Twilight movie — your CH boutiques have met with great success around the world, and your perfumes are very popular. How do you explain all that success?

We must be doing something people like. Our CH boutiques offer an enormous assortment of accessories and products that reflect the lifestyle I prefer. As for the wedding dresses, they're popular because they're feminine as well as comfortable, because brides need to feel comfortable when they dance and move at their wedding.

Next: Her definition of beauty. »

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