Dennis Basso’s loyal socialite following arrived in flocks at the ballroom at the Pierre Hotel for the designer’s 40th anniversary runway show. They came in all variations of occasion wear and tailored suits plus frills, sparkles and all. There was Martha Stewart in a white ensemble in the front row with Kris Jenner decked in an all black pantsuit. The ageless Carmen Dell’Orefice cut an elegant and understated figure amidst the sea of sparkly cocktail dresses. There were the Real Housewives Kelly Killoren and Ramona Singer, TV personality Star Jones and writer Candace Bushnell.
In his 40 years in business, Basso has dressed countless boldfaced women from Elizabeth Taylor to the recently departed Ivana Trump, from Hillary Clinton to Michelle Obama, from Meryl Streep to the current bevy of Hollywood starlets, and all the many women who like to look beautiful and timeless.
On this landmark year, Basso shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, he wants to do more. He wants to expand his collection to include less stratospheric price points. He wants to do a television show with a focus on fashion and home. “I don’t want to be just at home and not do anything. I love what I do and I’ll keep doing it as long as I can. I love to work and if you love what you do, then it’s not work,” said Basso backstage. “I worked very hard for my career and here we are 40 years later and it’s sort of amazing.”
Asked about memories from his first runway show, Basso recollected: “I remember we were about to start the show and Mrs Ivana Trump hadn’t arrived yet. They had just moved to Trump Tower at the time. She walked in and took her seat and our relationship started from there. It was amazing.” As fashion legends go, after that show, Ivana Trump would go on to place a generous order of Basso’s clothes and they would developed a lifelong friendship.
For this anniversary collection, a spring 2023 offering, Basso didn’t have to look far for inspiration. His own garden in his country home in Water Mill in the Hamptons was the starting point. This was evident in the many floral silk and chiffon cocktail dresses, the petal colouring of gowns and palazzo pants and the dusting of beadwork on the various frocks that glistened like a garden blanketed in morning dew. It was a collection that was unabashedly uptown, polished and oozing in glamour. Not to mention accented by fur. Clothes that could easily transition from the Hamptons to say Palm Beach or the South of France or wherever Basso’s clientele like to jet.