Patricia Herrera Lansing’s and Carolina Herrera Baez’s chic style
Their mother presides over an international fashion empire, so it’s no surprise that Carolina Herrera’s daughters Patricia Herrera Lansing and Carolina Herrera Báez are preternaturally chic.
Though Patricia lives in New York’s NoLIta and Carolina in Madrid, the sisters both work for their mother’s company (Patricia is a creative consultant; Carolina is the creative fragrance director), and they have a style sensibility that transcends the distance.
The designer, of course, had a hand in her daughters’ aesthetic. “We have similar tastes—we share,” says Carolina. “Twice a year Patricia and I travel together with our families, and when we unpack our suitcases we have a lot of the same things.” She credits much of her affinity for beautiful clothes and decor to her upbringing. “I remember my mother having costume parties, especially one in Mustique. She designed this crazy hat with feathers.” Patricia recalls how their mother commissioned bathing suits for them made with fabrics she handpicked. “She’s had an influence on my love for color and texture.”
That love of color and texture is evident throughout the loft Patricia shares with her husband, Gerrity Lansing, and their three children. “My favorite thing is to scour the D&D Building,” she says. “Sometimes I’ll just buy bolts of fabric and keep them in hopes that I’ll use them.” The furnishings are an eclectic mix of antique and modern, with some decorative elements (a fish tank and an impressive collection of taxidermy) left over from Gerrity’s single days.
“This apartment was my husband’s bachelor pad,” says Patricia. “We gutted it and reworked it. I did it by color—a blue room and a green room and so on.” The result was an art-filled study with child-friendly charm: Two William Wegman portraits of the Herrera‐Lansing dogs flanked by the photographer’s iconic Weimaraners hold court in the breakfast room, and a series of photographs of the children by Duane Michals are arranged throughout the home. “My house is equal parts roller rink and space for entertaining,” Patricia says. “I think you have to have a place where your children can run around freely.” (For the record, the kids do roller-skate indoors.)
“I don’t want a house that’s overrun by children’s toys, but I don’t want a house where my kids feel like they can’t jump on a couch,” she adds. It’s the kind of laid-back elegance that pervades the sisters’ style. On a recent weekday, both were sporting skinny jeans: Carolina with a T-shirt, bouclé jacket, and black ankle boots, while Patricia wore an oxford and Converse sneakers. That said, Patricia is just as comfortable in a ball gown, like the design by her mother that she wore to last May’s Costume Institute Gala. A ball gown, it turns out, is the one point on which the two diverge. “She looks great in a ball gown, and I look like an ant,” Carolina says, laughing.
Entertaining is paramount for the Herrera sisters, and during the holidays they pull out all the stops. Patricia’s family has not one but two Christmas trees: one for “the kids to go crazy on, and another decorated in all red.” When Carolina’s in Madrid with her husband, the former bullfighter Miguel Báez, three children, and many dogs for the holidays, she throws an elaborate dinner for 30. “In Spain it’s a tradition to eat shellfish, so I’ll do that and a turkey and gravy, suckling pig and pheasant. I mix Spanish and American traditions.”
Back in New York, Patricia has a custom of putting on a big dinner for friends a few days before Christmas. Table settings are a passion of hers and set the tone for the party. “It’s fun because you can change it up each time you entertain. I think you can totally create an atmosphere through what your table looks like,” she explains. “For me, the best party is a combination of informal and formal—a beautiful table but a little bit off. It’s always really fun to have a super-drunk person,” she adds. “I always like people to stay as long as they want, and just keep the drinks going and the food going.”
But whether in Madrid or New York, the Herrera holidays always put family first. “Healthy kids, happy home,” says Carolina. “That’s what it’s all about.”
By Christine Whitney