When I first passed the Hannoh boutique’s red storefront on rue Saint Sébastien, I was stopped in my tracks by a solitary dress in the window. The beautiful wrap in bright white cotton with a delicate black motif was simplicity itself—lightweight and perfectly cut. Part of the allure of designer Hanno Wessel’s clothes is the way he gleefully mixes elegance, rusticity, meticulous craftsmanship and an avant-garde sense of possibilities. Asymmetrical hems and necklines, draping contours and unfinished edges are paired with defined waistlines and precise tailoring. The look is at once chic and casual, easy to wear and flattering to women of all ages and body types. Silk crêpe de chine and cotton dresses gracefully drape and fall, while linen, wool or leather jackets are both structured and relaxed, meant to be worn open or cinched with a raw leather belt over a wrap skirt or soft trousers. The natural fabrics—linen, silk, fine Indian cotton, cashmere and Harris tweed—come in atmospheric colors, with deep sea greens and blues, dove gray and earthy neutrals paired with surprising splashes of electric green or scarlet. Although Wessel’s label is carried in high-end shops worldwide, the Paris shop is currently the only place to see the entire collection. (Plans are afoot, though, for a second Paris boutique on the Left Bank.)

7 rue Saint Sébastien, 11th,

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Originally published in the July/August 2011 issue of France Today

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