Taken with the decor at the eighties-themed Halloween bash his friend Allison Sarofim held at her West Village town house last October, Douglas Hannant started to think graffiti for Fall. A few days later the deal was sealed after a visit to a Lower East Side warehouse to check out Basquiat-inspired works by the young French painter Nicolas Pol, in a show curated by Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld.
Hold on a sec. The eighties at Douglas Hannant? Graffiti? Vladimir Restoin-Roitfeld?
Hannant knows it's a hard sell. "Based on my past work, I don't think anyone would expect me to do graffiti art," he said. "I'm bringing Alphabet City in the eighties to Park Avenue." And so he did. Panels of tag-covered plywood borrowed from Sarofim hung above the stage at the Kaye Playhouse, his Upper East Side venue. More spray-paint effects could less obviously be spied on the clothes. What looked like gold-and-green plaid on a cozy mohair cocoon coat with fox trim was actually a pattern in paint. The graffiti gambit worked, adding energy to otherwise rather conventional separates.
Weaving added another graphic touch. A short, banded dress comprised of strips of velvet and tweed was uptown-sexy; a knee-length version would appeal to Hannant's regular clientele—who might want to cherry-pick the collection judiciously. Several looks were overworked with laminated wool, a Wild Style array of colors, or peacock feathers. Still, the column dress that closed the show, covered in hand-painted sequins à la Basquiat, is sure to be in high demand for the next Museum Mile gala.
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