Maria Carolina Josefina Pacanins y Nino was born in Caracas, Venezuela in 1939. Her father served as governor of Caracas as well as Venezuela’s minister of foreign affairs. She worked as a publicist for Emilio Pucci at Alfa boutique. She wore a yellow mini dress with floral appliques of her own design, at her second wedding to Reinaldo Herrera Guevara. Her career in fashion design began in 1980 when American Vogue editor, Diana Vreeland, inspired her to design dresses. She sold her first collection of 24 dresses that her dressmaker had made for her in Caracas, at a friend’s Park Avenue apartment in New York.
She is the recipient of numerous fashion awards. Her name, her clothes and her brand represent elegance and femininity. In 1989 she announced that she would stop using fur. Herrera became a contributing editor at House & Garden in 1996. She co-chaired “Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years” at the Met’s Costume Institute in 2001.