EXCLUSIVE: 10 minutes with Carolina Herrera de Baez

While in NY with the House of Herrera (read everything about the trip here), I got the chance to spend 10 short minutes with Carolina Herrera de Baez, the gorgeous daughter of mrs Herrera, who happens to be a woman with enviable style and undeniable grace. I guess it runs in the family. Read on!

On feeling the pressure working next to her iconic mother.

I started working with the House 20 years ago. When I started, I did short of an internship, there was no pressure by my mother to work there, there was no "this is what you have to do, because you are my daughter" kind of thing, it wasn't like that at all. So, I never felt the pressure of her success or the pressure of what she has done, which is nice because she never gave me that. So in a way, it's been very free and I managed to find my own path. I don't think of her as anything but my mother. No matter how much I admire her, your mother is your mother no matter how big, important or iconic she is. I don't compare myself, I don't want to be her, I try to learn from her everyday instead. Even if she was here doing an interview, I would still learn from her. Our strengths are our differences.


On knowing the direction she wanted to follow from the beginning.

I didn't know from the beginning the direction I wanted to follow; I worked a lot in perfume and film, I lived in New York, then I moved to Los Angeles and then to Madrid, where I got married. I've always worked in perfumes and then it was back in 2005 when I stopped doing everything else. Everything was a very natural process, it was never forced. And I think that's been part of the success of the House, because my mother can focus on fashion and I can focus on perfumes - as I said we complement each other. 


On the highlight of her career.

I don't see it like a career in that sense, I see it more like a path, like a "way". I think that my favorite moment of this "path" was the beginning; doing an internship and launching the first fragrance - the 212 - because I didn't know at all what I was doing. It was a tiny group back then, we were 5 people in the team (now we are 150), everything was different and I learned so much from that process. I think that the highlight's doing this, not feeling any pressure, learning so much in the process and not getting lost. 


On her kids' future path [she has 3].

I haven't even thought of it yet. They are still too young, you know? They are all very different. But if they want to follow my path and work with me, I will support their every move. Or maybe they'll do their own thing, who knows. I just want them to find their way. As time passes by, it's getting harder and harder for young people to chose their path; they are exposed to so much information, there are too many distractions and false acclamations out there. I just wish they don't get lost.


On her recent trip to India.

I've been to India many times, the first one was 20 years ago. I've been all over different parts of India. This trip though was about seeing the recollection of the Jasmine. The perfume was done, bottled and ready, so I didn't go for inspiration. I just wanted to pay homage to the jasmine; to see the seed, to see where it comes from. You know, you have a perfume, whether it's rose whether it's jasmine, but you never think of the seed; we tend to forget that there's a huge process and tons of people involved that have actually nothing to do with the perfume. This trip reminded me that this huge industry begins with a seed, the sun and the rain; it made me appreciate the simple things.


On knowing the right mix of ingredients for the perfect scent.

That's the perfumists, not me. We always work closely though to get the end result. I give them an emotional map, a memory map and sometimes a physical map, who the woman is, who the man is etc. I don't have specific people in mind though, I only think of human qualities. And then the perfumist interprets that map and gives you 5 different samples; one might be more oriental, one might be sweeter or fresher and then once you set the line you work on that. But you really have to let the perfumist do their work. They are the artists, they know the right mixes, they propose things that you haven't thought of and then you try it and you don't stop until you actually think that "this is it".


On the infamous shoe shape of "Good Girl".

Oh, that was so hard - the whole process took us 4 years and I have to admit it wasn't my idea. It was so hard to get to that specific shoe shape. We went through all different kinds of shoes - from a hooker shoe to a ballerina shoe and other really bad shoes. It's amazing how everything matters in order to get the perfect result; the material, the color, the texture. It took us 4 years and 3 different styles till we got to this one. It was hard to innovate, it was a very hard project in general, but it did make a difference in the end. You really do see a change because of the packaging. 


On her favorite scent from "Eaux de Toilette Confidential".

I've been using "Blonde Jasmine". You know, I always use the little tester bottles, cause I can't travel with the big ones - we are currently working on something that's more travel-friendly. So I still work with the testers. After I'm done with the "Blonde Jasmine" I'm gonna go to "Vetiver Paradise".


***Make sure you read my travel diary from NY here.


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