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New York designers are divided into two camps, those who are meeting the darkness of the moment with understatement and in some cases austerity, and others who are responding with color, verve, and joie de vivre. It should come as no surprise that Carolina Herrera’s Wes Gordon is on the side of joy. “This house exists and has existed for so long because it promises to women who come to us something that makes them feel beautiful and happy,” he said. He has a personal reason to be happy, too. He and his husband welcomed their second child last week, a little girl. He put “Georgia on My Mind” on the soundtrack in her honor.

We were back in a ballroom at the Plaza for today’s show. As the models emerged from backstage, they paused before descending a staircase. That was fitting: Gordon specializes in entrance makers, no matter the occasion. Beforehand he said he likes to blend the distinctions between day and night, which meant that a short skirt suit was embellished with clusters of large crystals, while a fitted sheath was cut from yellow and white striped cotton poplin. Gordon is feeling more at home at Herrera than ever. Backstage he mentioned the Netflix series The Empress, which centers around the 19th century Viennese court of Sisi of Austria; he identifies with it because “the same combination is what made Mrs. Herrera and what made the house—that discipline and severity with the flamboyance.”

There were outliers here in the form of a few sculpted tulle creations that leaned more eccentric than flamboyant, but otherwise Gordon struck a lot of the right notes: a colorful floral print strapless gown banded with black stripes was inspired by an old porcelain print, a purple and green blanc de chine used for another voluptuously draped long dress came from a 19th century woodblock print he found. “We’ve been working with fabric mills to develop textiles that have been kind of endangered species on New York runways for two decades,” he said. A pair of colorblocked ensembles packed a lot of punch despite the simplicity of the pieces that formed them. Chartreuse, berry pink, and red; or red, purple, and lilac—it’s hard not to be happy around colors like that.