Monday, August 6, 2012

Travelogue: Inside Designer Carol Hannah's Studio

Carol Hannah Showroom and Studio at 39th St. and 9th Ave. in the Garment District

My amazing cousin is getting married in October.  The dress has been purchased, the venue has been booked, and all was left -- other than a lot of other details that for the sake of simplification we are going to ignore right now and I'm not really in any position to talk about it anyway -- was to find some bling for the bride-to-be.  Thus, Saturday was a jammed packed morning of familial bonding between my cousin, my sister, and me through bridal stores up and down Manhattan.  After my falling down the subway stairs, an obligatory trip to Club Monaco, and browsing through accessories at Saja Bridal and Kleinfeld's, we wandered our way through Midtown over to 39th and 9th to Carol Hannah Whitfield's studio.  If the name sounds familiar, that's probably because Carol Hannah placed 3rd in season 6 of "Project Runway."  If it didn't, well, now you know.

Left:  Collection of previous season gowns and party dresses; Right:  Carol Hannah and I (forgive me, I have no make-up on and was on little sleep).

If we didn't have the address on hand, it would have be hard to distinguish where the studio was from the outside, other than by a little "Sample Sale" banner poking through the window.  However, inside was a veritable treasure trove of all things pretty, with the walls decorated with torn pages from old books and plants and lights strewn like garlands from the ceiling.  We buzzed in from the outside, and imagine our surprise when the door opened and there was Carol Hannah herself.  Of course, this in turn yielded a five-second "Project Runway" freak-out.

To see more pictures of pretty dresses and to read more about the visit, click the next page.

Once a sense of calm washed over us, my cousin talked business with the designer herself, looking over at some beautiful custom-made bridal accessories.  Meanwhile, my sister and I lived somewhat vicariously by looking through her collection of bridesmaids and bridal dresses and gowns.  The thing I love most about her dresses is that everything has a very organic and detail-oriented quality to each dress.  You can tell that the details were all hand made, from the intricate fabric cuts that resembled paper snowflakes to the beading on her belts.  As well, she keeps everything very flowing and feminine, with a great range of dresses from classic  lace cap sleeved dresses to flower and rhinestone detailed crepe pieces to vintage tulle gowns.  As we spoke more with Carol Hannah, we also found out that she also custom makes gowns and accessories to match color/theme, which meant a close to our adventure for the day.  The visit of course wouldn't be complete without each of us embarrassingly asking for picture with Carol Hannah, which she was happy to oblige.

Carol Hannah's Chamboard gown and SS 2013 bridal collection

Carol Hannah is also hosting a sample sale of ready to wear, bridesmaids, and brides dresses right now online and in her store.  This made a particular bridesmaid dress very tempting to buy as a cocktail dress, but my sister and I resisted for the while.  Visits are done by appointment, and easily over the phone.

What do you think lovelies?  Are you a fan of "Project Runway" or Carol Hannah?  Or, are you like me and just like looking at wedding dresses for the heck of it?  Note, I am of the personal opinion that she was totally robbed of a higher position of "Project Runway."  Feel free to debate or share below.



  1. What an awesome opportunity! Her dresses are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing!
    A's Fashion Files

  2. It's so cool you got a chance to meet her and take a pic with her! I totally would have done the same thing.

    <3 Maggie

  3. I like that her stuff isn't the typical princess-y brideswear, but it doesn't make me less freaked out looking at it.

    And to answer your question about how I afford the ridiculous amount of crap I own - though my blog seems to state otherwise, I work, but mostly I sell pieces of my soul to my credit card company and utilize the 0% interest I've got going until my luck runs out and I realize that I've become a bag lady - "a Fendi bag lady, but a bag lady!"

    1. Yeah, she was probably one of the most tolerable contestants on Project Runway that season too.