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story by Dana Varon
photos by Ned and Aya Rosen
Douglas Hannant‘s Spring 2012 collection takes inspiration from 1930’s Shanghai, a time period that is seldom explored, which made it especially enticing to him.
It was a time when Westerners would travel there like the Romans visiting Egypt, and so it became a diffusion of culture in many ways. Traditional Chinese music mixed with American Jazz and so on. Mr. Hannant infuses references subtly, but that does not mean this collection lacks the label’s signature dramatic decadence. Like the great Asian port city during that era, his pieces showcase geometric lines, organic curves, and time tested elegance, all with a slight tinge of Art Deco. This influence can mostly be seen with the more natural materials (the line sheet identified one as raffia), but it is also deeply present in the silks, some prints, and detailing like Chinese silk buttons, certain circular patterned embroidery, and pearls.
A tan applique-flowered sparkly black dress, a sand colored pearl bodiced jersey dress and a sheer dusty blue beaded number comply, along with black and white splatter painted like patterned others. Following suit, a thick woven looking fabric printed with a various volumed shaped striping is made into a long robe dress and double large collared cropped jacket. The collection is elaborate and intricate but Mr. Hannant also includes laid-back linen in this collection with suits and skirts and black crepe short shorts.
A liquid-y black lurex candy-striped puff sleeved shirt was a real show-stopper.
Cream puff sleeves are in the line along with dolmans. Hannant is known for his extravagant gowns, and I was happy to see more casual everyday pieces in this collection, but there is always a place for the gowns he is known for- fabrics full of sheen at the crowning part of Hannant’s show have an almost iridescent wash over animal prints and seem to represent the shine of the times fit for an Emperor.