NYFW: DENNIS BASSO F/W 2014

Dennis Basso sent a very clear message at his F/W 2014 show this afternoon: I don’t design for people who work for a living.

He could, mind you. He has the talent and the skill to bring a line of clothing that would astonish us all and quite possibly revolutionize the fashion one sees on the street. I very much believe Basso is just that talented.

However, while the middle class has shrunk and mid-level retail has hit the doldrums, the luxury market has continued to grow and, in the opinion of some, is even booming at its upper end. Those who live off trust funds, endowments, and inheritances are buying more clothes than ever and the higher the price tag the more they seem to buy. So, with dollar signs in his eyes, Basso has given a middle finger to the majority of shoppers and gone directly for the highest end possible, apparently not caring for whom or what he may damage in the process.

If my assessment seems a little rough, consider that, of 47 looks, only 9 came down the runway with no fur attached. While a few had only small touches around the collar or cuffs, the majority were either half-length or full-length coats, the kind that require dozens of pelts to produce. Not only is this approach not the least bit animal friendly, but it puts the price point well out of reach of all but the most elite of shoppers. Moreover, the use of natural furs is inefficient in stopping cold. For the past twenty-five years, synthetic furs have been far more efficient, far more cost effective, and much warmer to wear. To blatantly use this much fur is to raise a giant middle finger in the ace of the average shopper.

That so many pieces were covered with unsightly fur is sad because the dresses and jumpsuits themselves, primarily made of satin and silks, are nothing short of gorgeous. On the rare occasion we did get to see a full gown, it was astonishing. The detailing is exquisite. Prints with giant abstract brush strokes of paint work beautifully with broad-skirted gowns. His jumpsuits are very well styled and his use of deep jewel tones is perfect for the season. By all rights and measures, there should have been a lot of wonderful things to say about these clothes.

Unfortunately, the majority were hidden under those hideous furs.

Not that Dennis Basso cares what you or I think. I noticed as he wobbled out at the end of the show that his girth is beginning to compete with that of the late Orson Wells. Obviously, he is enjoying his wealth and needs not care for the opinions of the rest of us.

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