Carolina Herrera hands creative director role to Wes Gordon

AP

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  • FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2016 file photo, designer Carolina Herrera attends the Lincoln Center Corporate Fund Gala honoring Carolina Herrera in New York. Herrera is stepping down as creative director of her fashion label, and handing the reins to young American designer Wes Gordon. Herrera founded her label in 1981. The Venezuelan-born designer will present her final New York Fashion Week collection next week, and then will transition to a new role as global brand ambassador. She is 79. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

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    FILE - In this June 7, 2015 file photo, Wes Gordon arrives at the 69th annual Tony Awards in New York. Designer Carolina Herrera is stepping down as creative director of her fashion label, and handing the reins to Gordon. Gordon presented his own label of womenswear in New York from 2010 to 2016. The 31-year-old has been working with Herrera as creative consultant for the past year. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

  • FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2016 file photo, designer Carolina Herrera attends the Lincoln Center Corporate Fund Gala honoring Carolina Herrera in New York. Herrera is stepping down as creative director of her fashion label, and handing the reins to young American designer Wes Gordon. Herrera founded her label in 1981. The Venezuelan-born designer will present her final New York Fashion Week collection next week, and then will transition to a new role as global brand ambassador. She is 79. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

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    FILE - In this June 7, 2015 file photo, Wes Gordon arrives at the 69th annual Tony Awards in New York. Designer Carolina Herrera is stepping down as creative director of her fashion label, and handing the reins to Gordon. Gordon presented his own label of womenswear in New York from 2010 to 2016. The 31-year-old has been working with Herrera as creative consultant for the past year. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) Designer Carolina Herrera is stepping down as creative director of her fashion label, and handing the reins to young American designer Wes Gordon.

Herrera, who founded her label in 1981, announced the move in a statement Friday. The Venezuelan-born designer, 79, will present her final New York Fashion Week collection next week, and then will transition to a new role as global brand ambassador.

Gordon presented his own womenswear label in New York from 2010 to 2016. The 31-year-old has been working with Herrera as creative consultant for the past year.

In her statement, Herrera called Gordon "the right one for this position to further build on our great momentum."

In an interview with the New York Times, she stressed that this was not a retirement.

"Just don't say I am retiring," Herrera was quoted as saying. "I am not retiring! I am moving forward."

Herrera, who always cuts an elegant figure in her signature crisp white blouse, is known for her luxurious designs, especially for evening. Michelle Obama wore her designs several times as first lady, including at a 2014 state dinner with France a gown with a lace bodice and full lavender-blue skirt.

Both Melania and Ivanka Trump have also worn Herrera designs, and Caroline Kennedy got married in a Herrera bridal gown.

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