Succeeding a fashion myth without having turned 30 generates vertigo, perhaps for this reason in these five years, two of them marked by the restrictions of the pandemic, Wes Gordon (Chicago, 1988) has understood “that the key is to worry only for things that can be controlled. Whether it’s brightening up the house by buying flowers or making colorful and optimistic dresses. Because in this time I have realized that I have the privilege of working for a brand that exists solely with the mission of creating beauty and making whoever wears it feel better” —he explains—, “not all brands have that function Of course, but ours is there to create beautiful, optimistic products, and I think that’s important right now.”
In fact, Gordon approached fashion when he was a child obsessed with that escapist and even dreamlike side. As a teenager, he spent his afternoons sketching and used his summers to learn to sew. When he finished high school, he convinced his family to go study fashion design at Central Saint Martins, London, where John Galliano and Alexander McQueen began to forge their legend. At the age of 20, he founded his eponymous firm in New York, while working for Oscar de la Renta, “American fashion continues to have the idea of pragmatism implicit. I have always been very clear that I wanted to make clothes, not works of art to hang on the walls, that I wanted to meet women on the street or in a restaurant wearing something of my own”, he says. After a year as a consultant, Mrs. Herrera decided to hand over to him in 2018 the creative direction of the brand that she founded in 1981 (and of which she continues to be an ambassador).
Wes Gordon’s first show at the New York house already laid the foundations of his creative identity: to the legacy of his predecessor, he added vibrant colors and interplay of volumes, something that has marked his work ever since. “Although at first I was obsessed with youth. The fact of being a young designer made me self-impose the task of attracting the new generations. I would ask my friends if they would wear this or that”, he confesses, “over time I saw that this was precisely what I did not have to do. He was working on a brand that doesn’t understand age or women’s profiles, which is there for whoever wants to identify with it. Now when I start to think about a collection, I think about garments for the whole world”, he comments. Most of the team around Gordon is female, “because at the end of the day, this company was founded by a woman to meet the needs of women. They are the ones who advise me, I constantly ask them everything, ”he points out.
“When I arrived, I appreciated that Mrs. Herrera was a very photographed and portrayed woman because of her style, she is the best ambassador of her creations. Then I realized how modern she had been. Her first shows were very avant-garde, ”says the designer, aware that 40 years ago wearing a white shirt with a black skirt was not a very common exercise in style, although it might seem so. “I have learned that the classic can be extremely modern. And more now. We have already passed the phase of thinking that we are avant-garde for putting a cement piece of furniture in a white space”, he jokes, “modernity no longer has to do with aesthetics, but with an attitude. I think fashion today has a lot to do with individualism, with being a tool for personal expression, and that’s the fashion I want to do.” Wes Gordon is not obsessed with the speed or pressure of the industry. In fact, he lives with his husband and her daughter on a farm in Connecticut, just over an hour from New York. It’s his way of putting a reasonable distance, mentally and physically, from the demands of the business. As he says “control what you can control”. Yet every day he asks himself the same question: “Does the world need more stuff? No, we are oversaturated, and my job is to do new things. That is why I am obsessed with the fact that each design has a reason, that it is special, that it can last in a world where everything is accelerated. I am aware that not everything we do is, but I need to know that at least a part, even if it is small, can become it”.
Styling: Paula Delgado
Styling assistant: Rubén Cortés
Model: Kati Nescher (Viva Model Management).
Makeup and hairstyling: Yurema Villa for Guerlain and Kérastase.
Photography assistant: Luis Rubiera.
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