By Eric Wilson
Nov 18, 2014 @ 5:30 pm
Victor Chavez/WireImage

Carolina Herrera had hardly any time for sightseeing on her recent trip to Mexico City, but the jet-setting designer managed to squeeze in a few personal moments (and margaritas) along the way to her gala fashion show on Friday. She’s long been a fan of Mexico’s cultural offerings and offers her own visitor’s guide to the capital known as the City of Palaces.

“You know that Mexico City has more museums than any other city in the world,” Herrera says. “Mexico has given so much to the arts. From Rufino Tamayo to Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, there is a vast culture here.”

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Having visited the city many times, she had already seen the Museo Tamayo (currently hosting an exhibition of Yayoi Kusama) and the Museo Soumaya (where Sophia Loren is the subject of a fashion and art retrospective that opened on the occasion of her 80th birthday). So during a brief afternoon of free time on Friday, she went shopping in the city’s array of silver markets.

She also enjoyed a private tour of the home and studio of architect Luis Barragàn, (General Francisco Ramírez 12-14), a favorite destination for designers and artists from around the world for its fascinating modern design. Barragàn lived and worked there from 1948 until his death in 1988.

“Before Barragàn, people here used to fix their houses like they were in Europe,” Herrera says. “They were all the same, influenced by the outside. Then this man came and showed that Mexican objects and colors could be used as decorations as well. He was a big influence here.”

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As an example, Herrera recommends a visit to Camino Real hotel (Mariano Escobedo 700), built in the Barragàn style by architect Ricardo Legorreta with enormous pops of orange and pink throughout. For more luxurious accomodations, she stays at the St. Regis (Paseo de la Reforma 439), a high-rise that is noted as one of Mexico City’s safest buildings, able to withstand substantial earthquakes.

Victor Chavez/WireImage

Another attraction not to miss, she says, is the food. “Any kind of food here is different than Mexican food in New York or Los Angeles,” she says. “That is Tex-Mex. Here, it is pure and fantastic.” Herrera is also an aficionado of margaritas and votes for the many fruity or flowery variations served at Restaurante Dulce Patria (Anatole France 100), especially the hibiscus.

“We went for lunch and there was a whole table of margaritas in different colors,” Herrera says. “Delicious, no?”

Eric Wilson is InStyle’s Fashion News Director. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

PHOTOS: Take a Tour of Carolina Herrera’s Manhattan Town Home