To get going on Spring 2015, Dennis Basso started thinking about the time he visited Monte Carlo in the late ’60s with his parents. He was in middle school and already obsessed with fashion. “The women were wearing ball gowns and little fur jackets during the day and short shorts for dinner!” he said. “The hair was bigger; the makeup was stronger. They were really taking charge of their look.”
That spirit led Basso to lamé tunic dresses—worn either alone or with skinny trousers—and a cropped jacket in pink broadtail paired with a teensy lamé romper. Sixties-tinged, to be sure, but not overly retro. The designer offered plenty of pretty ball gowns, too, either in a rose-printed white gazar, or gray cloque embossed with peach flowers. Basso is eager for his collections to read modern, and these pieces were youthful but still appropriate for his loyal clients of any age. (“Basso Blondes,” they could be called, all lined up in his front row at Lincoln Center.) Less successful were a series of gowns with handmade chiffon petals applied at the top: The designer can sometimes go a tad far with embellishment, and these pieces looked too cluttered.
Basso dedicated the show to his friend Joan Rivers, who often wore his designs on the red carpet. She would have surely had many opinions about his latest effort: some positive, some less so. But there was one thing everyone could agree on: These clothes were designed with the intention of making Basso’s customer feel special. Joan wouldn’t argue with that.