Echoes of Shanghai in the thirties, which was this season's inspiration for Douglas Hannant
, were subtle. "There will be no chinoiserie," the designer promised before the show. The tone was set by the styling and the venue, a room at the Plaza fashioned to look a bit like a Chinese speakeasy. The glamorous world Hannant envisioned should be accessible to his loyal clientele, and perhaps to some new customers, as well, when he opens a store in Shanghai later this year. How did it play out in the clothes? Raffia, a stand-in for bamboo, was an organic, more textural fabric than you usually see from Hannant. A black and tan off-the-shoulder dress in the material hewed close to the body and draped across the hip; it might have felt fussy in another finish, but here it was fresh and crisp. A few ballooning sleeves and one entire look in Lurex (featuring an ill-advised lavender camo print) could have been excised, but overall the sure-footed, sophisticated moments won out.