Famed furrier and fashion extraordinaire Dennis Basso is an American design legend known for his ultra-chic couture collections. In the spirit of European ateliers, Basso has managed to build an empire synonymous with quintessential luxury and exquisite glamour. Through his innovative use of fur as a more fluid textile, Basso’s designs render imaginative silhouettes and bold color variations. He is also equally known for his breathtakingly beautiful gowns worn by a long list of iconic notables, from Catherine Zeta-Jones, Gabrielle Union, our very own Marjorie Harvey, as well as Michelle Obama to Olivia Palermo, Helen Mirren, and so many more.
The epicenter for Basso’s magnificent creations is his four story flagship facility located on Madison Avenue in the heart New York City. The headquarters serve as a monument to his thirty year contribution to excellence in American manufacturing and extraordinary apparel. However, the indelible imprint of his remarkable vision and style can be seen in his salons around the world, as well as, more recently, his more affordable faux fur collection available exclusively on QVC.
We were privileged to have an intimate chat with the endearing virtuoso. Here’s what Basso had to share about the moment he realized he had finally made it, the direction of fur trends today, women who inspire him, and so much more.
The Lady Loves Couture: When was the moment you knew you had “made it?”
Dennis Basso: The first time I made the cover of Women’s Wear Daily was the beginning of knowing I had made it. It’s such a huge benchmark within the fashion industry.
TTLC: Has there been a mentor or a good friend who has helped you through your career? If so, what was the best advice you received?
DB: Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to have been friends with important and strong people in the fashion industry. The best advice I received is to never be discouraged and to stay focused on your goals. If you’re continuously focused on what you’re doing, you’ll never lose sight of it.
TLLC: Let us in on your creative process: How do you draw inspiration for your clothing and then how does that become a complete collection for NYFW?
DB: It’s important to have your antenna up at least a year before and to be on the lookout for a feeling or a mood. It could come from travel, a book, nature… but once you find something that moves you, the options are endless. Your inspiration becomes a stepping stone to shape the direction of a collection and then the ideas become a realization. You start by sketching, then samples are made, and it all starts rolling from there.
TLLC: How do you define style?
DB: Style is personal and comes from within. It can’t be created and it’s innate. It’s not about the clothes or accessories you’re wearing, it’s about how you interpret them. Three people could be wearing the exact same thing and all look different.
TLLC: Are there any fashion faux pas; something a women should never do when it comes to fashion?
DB: It’s important to dress according to your age and figure in order to look your best. You could have a beautifully designed piece, but if it doesn’t fit beautifully it can become a disaster.
TLLC: What kind of women are you most inspired by when you are designing?
DB: Strong, independent, sophisticated women.
TLLC: Specifically in the world of furs, what direction do you see trends headed?
DB: The trends this season are color, texture, and using furs that were once reserved for high evening in a more casual way.
To enjoy some affordable Dennis Basso designs, try: