There is a look and a feel to certain fashion collections that make them a calling card for their country of origin. While it is hard to describe just what it is, you know it when you see it. Christian Dior is that way for France. Gucci is that way for Italy, and Douglas Hannant is all American.
Designer clothing from America is totally unique. While it can have the sophistication of a Parisian collection, there is a practicality to the look that separates it. While it can have the sex appeal of an Italian collection, there is a Patrician undertone that remains at the core.
Douglas Hannant touches on these design codes when he is creating, his now decade old, runway collection. Hannant has developed a strong following of socialites and shopping sprites who appreciate beautiful clothing - but don't love a logo or a label to upstage them. Usually, that means a woman who is more confident or one that is more conservative - an interesting contradiction. What we saw after the fallout of 2009 is a parting of the seas for fashion shoppers. Suddenly, the ladies not wearing letters twined around their tiny waists were the cool chicks. Many women felt they were all logo'd up - with nowhere to go! Collections like Hermes, Bottega Venetta, and Douglas Hannant and the ladies who love them don't have that issue. Fans of these collections know that they are paying for the craftsmanship, the quality of the raw materials, and the unique design.
Hannant loves color and is accommodating to his devoted ladies who know he will always have what they need - something pretty and appropriate. Like the American design legend Bill Blass, Douglas Hannant is as comfortable designing a smart skirt suit - or that dramatic evening gown. Naturally, he dresses the ladies who lunch in NY, Palm Beach, and all over the country. What sets Hannant apart from many well known American collections is the fact that he also dresses their daughters. Something in the way Hannant uses fabrics and color - lends his design to the young and sexy girls, as well as the sensual but more conservative lady. He has not become a resource for just "the party dress", or just "the gown". His looks would be as flattering to Betsy Bloomingdale as they would to Daphne Guinness.
As if the space were chosen by the casting department for some super stylish sequel to Breakfast at Tiffany's, Hannant opened his first ever boutique in the fabled Plaza Hotel in NYC. The historic property famously underwent a 200 million dollar renovation two years ago, and has opened it's luxury retail center in stages. The Plaza stands for everything that is American glamour ( even more now since the property is no longer in the grasp of The Donald!). Hannant's boutique is right at home. (The Plaza is also home to the fabulous French perfume collection - KRIGLER).
New York is a tough town, and the fashion world is a tough business. To make it in this business for more than a decade requires more than great taste. Tenacity and wise business decisions are critical. Douglas and partner Frederic Anderson understand how to balance image and business- art and commerce. The two have stayed true to the vision of the company and have found a way to flourish. Timing is also a key ingredient. While many companies had overextended themselves with crazy expansions in 07 and 08, Hannant was carefully planning his first retail boutique. Not having gotten into retail at that crazy height in the commercial real estate bubble was brilliant.
Another wise decision is the development of Hannant's Bridal collection - a natural extension of what he does for runway. What better way to develop a client for years to come? After all, if you can make her shine on the most important day of her life, won't she also trust you to dress her for lunch?
For more information on all collections, visit the website.