Douglas Hannant previewed his spring collection in the Terrace Room of the Plaza on Monday night, which is located just upstairs from the designer's brand new, Geoffrey Bradfield-designed boutique. Given Hannant's popularity with the Upper East Side moneyed set, a long list of society fixtures turned up to pay tribute to Hannant, including Tinsley Mortimer, Cece Cord, Bettina Zilkha, Jennifer Creel, Annie Churchill, Alexandra Lebenthal, Gillian Hearst, and Valesca Guerrand-Hermès. Roving party reporter Douglas Marshall caught up with Beverly Johnson, legendary model and the first African-African woman to appear on the cover of Vogue, to ask her about the modeling biz today and Tyra Banks.
Q: Who are some of your favorite models these days?
A: I like them all! I like Gisele and Chanel Iman a lot. Who else do I like? I like everybody!
Q: What advice do you give girls who are starting out in the modeling world right now?
A: It's a very competitive field, so I tell them that you have to be very ambitious. But no matter how beautiful you are, you can't give a person ambition. You have to really want it. But if you do, go for it.
Q: Who are some of your favorite designers?
A: Tracy Reese. We went to her show today and she is to die for. I love her.
Q: And do you wear Douglas Hannant?
A: This is my first time seeing his clothes, actually.
Q: You've got to tell him who you are so you can get yourself into one of his gowns!
A: I've met him before. But I've been looking around tonight and he really does have some absolutely beautiful things.
Q: Indeed! Okay, switching subjects. Can I ask you a question about America's Next Top Model?
A: Of course! I've been judge on the show a bunch of times.
Q: So you were one of the first African-American models and you broke ground by being the first black woman on the cover of Vogue in 1974. Do you remember that scene where Tyra Banks flipped out on the African-American contestant by saying that she was not taking it seriously enough, and was not really working to change her attitude or acting like she really wanted to be there? And Tyra flipped out?
A: Sure, I know the scene you are talking about.
Q: Did you agree with the speech that Tyra gave her about getting it together and to stop acting like a victim? Or do you think Tyra made it too personal because they're both African-American?
A: I agreed with that speech regardless of race. Because otherwise the contestant is taking up space from someone else who really wants it. If you don't want to do it, move over. Because there are plenty of people who want it.
Q: Agreed. But do you think Tyra made it a little bit too personal?
Q: Okay. Lastly, everyone is beginning to look a little tired from all the Fashion Week craziness. How do you manage it?
A: It's true. I'm pretty tired myself. I recommend drinking lots of water. I'm actually going to get some now!