NEW YORK, February 14, 2012
By Alison Baenen
With a blast of a whistle and the sound of wheels on a train track, we were off on the Orient-Express. For Fall Dennis Basso sent his girl packing on the famed transcontinental locomotive, though she could have been anywhere fabulous. The train shtick was just an excuse for Basso to show off some of his sumptuous luggage, like a carry-on case swathed in Russian broadtail. Of course, the true test of a carry-on these days is if it will fit in the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. Basso is enamored of a bygone sense of glamour, and this collection was aimed at today’s first-class flyers.
Over the past few seasons, Basso has slowly expanded from fur into ready-to-wear, noting before the show, “Almost every designer does fur now. And now I’m doing ready-to-wear!” When you put it like that, why not? It’s hard to raise an objection to a soft leather skirt in warm topaz, or a perfectly cut cashmere sheath in pearly gray. Basso loves to crossbreed his furs and exotics, pairing mink with lynx and python with raccoon, but he has always showed restraint with his sophisticated daywear, and this season was no exception.
Still, it was hard to see under all those pelts. A chinchilla and lynx bomber jacket in a brilliant shade of orange (Basso called the color cayenne) popped so loudly against the clothes’ cool hues that it commanded all the attention. The color looked great as an accent, inside a hooded parka or on the collar of a long, quartz-colored chinchilla vest with deep cashmere patch pockets. About that parka: Basso took a classic puffer, slimmed it down in broadtail, and lined it with double-face cashmere. Sound decadent? It is, but it had a day-to-day wearability that most statement furs don’t. If you can tear your eyes from the house specialty, there are plenty of other pieces in this collection that are worth a look. But that’s a big if.