Thursday, May 27, 2004

42nd Street

Dennis Basso’s fur shows are always as much a fashion show ON the runway as off the runway- and this year’s was no exception. Celebrating his first 20 years in business, the setting was- for the second time- Cipriani 42nd street, rather than the Pierre where it had long been held. Although not all the 1500 invited guests showed up and there were empty front row and second row seats, it was well attended nonetheless and boasted some big names like the young, hip Chloe Sevigny, Soprano star Lorraine Bracco, and Leroy Neiman (talk about an interesting mix of New York!).

Place cards on the front row promised Vogue’s Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley (fur loving Anna was a no show but fur supporter ALT did arrive), In Style’s Hal Rubenstein and Cindy Cleary Weber (no Cindy but Hal made it), and WWD’s Etta Froio- who was there. Vanity Fair’s Amy Fine Collins and Anne McNally also took their places amongst the high profile crowd.

And what would a fashion event be without socialites? Denise Rich, CeCe Kieselstein-Cord, Ivanka Trump, and Melania Knauss rubbed elbows before checking out the luxurious pelts. Even fellow furrier- Adrienne Landau- paid her respects. She was hard to miss with a sable tail and crystal beaded jacket of her own design (yup- in the middle of May!). Adrienne is living proof that fur has become a year round ‘accessory’, which is at the heart of the fur business and something that Dennis alluded to in his program, stating, “Fur has become an essential part of fashion and is being treated as an accessory to compliment the wardrobe of all who wear it”

By the way, speaking of crystal beads, many of the furs shown today were trimmed with beads (in addition to ribbons and feathers) and judging from the well dressed guests, it’s all about shine- but not shine for evening which is predictable and to be expected, but shine for day. In addition to one guest who was sporting a ‘diamante’ trimmed black cotton sleeveless t- shirt, and several wearing gold lame threads, there were eye- catching, statement- making brooches on many others. But this is not really surprising, given that these well-heeled customers are not wearing pins because they are newly deemed ‘in’ by the fashion press (or because Miuccia made them ‘cool’ and ‘hip’). Au contraire- these ‘ladies who lunch’ never stopped wearing them.

Enough about the crowd- what was the story on the runway? For Dennis Basso, his new collection was (surprise, surprise!?) inspired by “vintage looks from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s” which he has “translated into modern pieces that can be worn for any occasion.” In addition to broadtail, chinchilla, mink, lynx, lynx bellies, sable, he has introduced a new fur – criceto-, which was dyed in shades like chartreuse and peacock. What else? It’s all about the fitted silhouette featuring a small waist, and the return of the bell sleeve. And Mr. Basso has literally gone to great lengths this time around (though he made a case for tiny, abbreviated little shrugs, capelets, and boleros- which look young and modern, and which were all over the recent fall/winter runways), he showed plenty of floor sweeping coats. Now, all you have to do is wish for the tall elongated body to carry them off properly, plenty of cold weather, AND a very full bank account!

Posted by Marilyn Kirschner

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