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March 11, 2016

Perfect Pairing: Nicole Hanley + Bloomingdale’s

Photo Credit: Cristina Macaya

Editors' Notes

Fashion designer Nicole Hanley of the New York-based line Hanley.

Photo Credit: Cristina Macaya

Editors' Notes

Fashion designer Nicole Hanley of the New York-based line Hanley.

As the days get longer and the weather turns warmer, travel-inspired sportswear line Hanley has its sights set on California with a Havana-inspired spring 2016 collection bowing at Bloomingdale’s in San Francisco and Santa Monica. The label, based in New York and founded in 2014, draws its sophisticated, yet practical aesthetic from the life and style of its namesake designer, Nicole Hanley who will be on hand at the SoMA department store on Saturday, March 12. For each collection, Hanley synthesizes aesthetic markers from the far-flung locations she visits. Here, Hanley describes how the vibrant line came to fruition, what she drew upon in Cuba to create the spring looks, and what she remembers most from her first visit to San Francisco.

What inspired you to draw on elements of Havana while designing this collection? Our country’s relationship with Cuba is going through a new beginning, and we wanted to explore Havana art-infused culture.

What was your first impression of the city’s style? I noticed that certain juxtapositions appeared in both my conversations with local artists and the architecture of the city. And I was particularly struck by the contrasts between the weathered but bright colors of the buildings; censored yet artistic expression; obscured yet accessible information; and the unnerving, yet optimistic perspective of everyone we talked to. As much as we sought to understand, we only just barely scratched the surface.

How did you blend this impression of Havana into your aesthetic? We used sheer layers to capture the fascinating dichotomies resulting in unpredictable textures and patterns set apart by atypical color combinations in crisp cotton poplin.

As someone who is so inspired by travel, what do you always make sure to have on hand? My secret to packing is to bring whatever most easily gives you peace of mind. For me, that means a small number of pieces (I prefer to only bring a carry-on if I can get away with it) that style together easily in the many different ways. On the plane I make sure to bring the necessities to keep me comfortable during the flight: Advil, moisturizer, a bottle of water, and an extra sweater, because without these even flying a short distance can seem like a very long trip!

As you prepare to bring this collection to Bloomingdale’s in San Francisco, do you have a favorite memory of the city? When I was a child I traveled to San Francisco with my father to watch my older sister compete in a swim meet, and, at a young age, the city seemed exhilarating—an impression that was probably amplified by the fact that an earthquake happened while we were there. I remember the hilly streets feeling like roller coasters and driving down Lombard Street thinking it was the most beautiful street I had ever been on.

By Phoebe Neuman

Pictured: Fashion designer Nicole Hanley of the New York-based line Hanley.
Photo by Cristina Macaya

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