Douglas Hannant, known for dressing New York’s society set (he counts Valesca Guerrand-Hermès and Jill Fairchild as two of his best clients) is hoping to broaden his customer base with a diffusion line “Pink,” hitting stores this coming spring. While the designer’s signature line wholesales from between $300 to $15,000, the diffusion line will be priced between $75 and $770. Douglas Hannant Pink is the first licensed product line through a new partnership with private investor Sami Souid. The designer previewed the collection for the first time this week with a presentation at the Hotel on Rivington. We caught up with Hannant and talked about what led to the collection, and what it was like expanding into a new price point.
Tell us about Pink.
It’s our first licensed brand for clothing outside of the [main] brand. We’ve done fragrances and we are launching lingerie, but this is our first entrance into the contemporary market. We wanted to have a full collection, which I’m overseeing with a design staff. And there will be a separate launch during New York fashion week and a stand-alone store too.
What led to the collection?
When I go to the Hamptons, my customers will say to me, “I’m sorry I didn’t wear you but everything I have of yours is too dressy to wear here.” So now they will have something to wear. And it’s not just for that customer, but it’s for a whole new clientele that didn’t have access before. I’m translating my vision into something casual, easy and not too serious.
Who do you see wearing this collection?
You are usually in your thirties before you start buying couture. I think this collection will attract a whole range. I don’t think that age is chronological. I just think this will attract people who have good taste -- people that want taste but they also want value.
What was it like working in a completely different price point from your signature line?
It’s very freeing. Because when you talk about couture, you’re really talking about designing something for a special event, be it for day or evening. So when you have clothes like this, it’s not for a big event -- they are for everyday, and that’s really exciting for me. They are very affordable, but I want to always give my clients a certain taste level no matter what the price.
You have always have such great inspirations for your namesake line ranging from Basquiat to the Jazz Age. Can you give us a preview of what you are thinking of for spring?
It’s going to be inspired by the decadence of 1930s Shanghai.