Douglas Hannant’s Pool Party

Photo: Slim Aarons 1970

It is of the utmost convenience for a designer to hold a showing of his collection in a space above his store. However, few designers are as lucky as Douglas Hannant, who has his store located in New York’s famed Plaza Hotel, and that convenient space is nothing less than the hotel’s elegant Terrace Foyer, just one flight up.

When the crowd gathered on Wednesday afternoon to view Hannant’s 2011 Resort show, there were a requisite number of socialites in attendance and air kisses abounded. The mood on this late spring afternoon was decidedly relaxed and casual. As the fashion press waited patiently for the presentation to begin, the social set was engaged in a warm “meet and greet” session, as they chatted and posed for photos before taking their seats.

Photo: Isabelle Erb

For his 2011 Resort Collection, Hannant was inspired by the American photographer, Slim Aarons’ iconic photograph of a poolside party at a Palm Springs desert house designed by the architect, Richard Neutra, for department store mogul Edgar Kaufmann, in the mid 20th century. Aarons was famous for capturing “ attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places”, and although the photo in question (see lead photo above) was taken in January 1970, it still embodies the essence and style of the 1960’s.

Photo: Isabelle Erb

For his part, Hannant pays homage to the heyday of the Palm Springs leisure class with an assortment of brightly colored dresses and suits mixed with numerous ensembles in black and white. His figure flattering jersey dress was in an eye-catching shade of turquoise. The White Raffia Tennis Dress was shown with a black and white wide brimmed hat and a black and white geometric print tote. The tweed pieces were fresh and feminine with a pink tweed dress paired with a one-button jacket and a mint green mini dress in tweed and jersey cinched with a narrow belt. Another dress and jacket in black and white tweed was trimmed in zigzag Guipure Lace.

Photo: Isabelle Erb

One of Hannant’s most striking looks was the Black Jersey/White Gazar Splattered Cocktail Dress, which had a skirt reminiscent of a ballerina’s tutu. The Cerulean Strapless Column gown and the Fuschia Organza gown with black accents were exquisitely tailored and the colors were stunning.

Photo: Isabelle Erb

After the show, guests were invited to Hannant’s boutique to sip champagne and mingle with the designer. Judging from the reception his collection received from devotees like CeCe Cord, who smiled throughout the presentation, Hannant’s tribute to the beautiful people of a bygone era was a modern day hit.

– Rhonda Erb

Rhonda Erb

Rhonda Erb writes about fashion, travel and lifestyle from a New Yorker’s perspective in Better Bets. A self-confessed Instagram addict, her work has also appeared in such publications as Runway Magazine. Follow her at: Instagram: @betterbets Twitter: @betterbetsny tumblr:

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