Dennis Basso, the King of Fur, and Now a Little Bit More
Dennis Basso, friend of the Trumps and rich ladies who love fur, showed a little less pelt at NYFW this year. Plus, present politics made very personal at Zero + Maria Cornejo.
Backstage before his New York Fashion Week show at St. Bart’s Church on Park Avenue, Dennis Basso, the king of fur for many a Trump (he’s a family friend) and rich New York City lady, revealed he was celebrating 35 years in the fashion business.
“It went by in a snap,” Basso said in his gravely timbre. And to mark the milestone, it was time for a change. This collection included sportswear, he said, not just fur. Watch out for evening dresses and leather, he said. Even denim. “I love fashion,” he said of having no plans to retire. “It doesn’t feel like work.”
As for objections over using fur, he batted away the question by claiming there were “more important things to worry about,” like child health. He wasn’t dressing any Trump women right now, as he has in the past, he said. Neither Ivana nor Tiffany, guests at past shows, were there Monday. He thinks the women of the family are “dressing beautifully,” demurring any further comment on the presidency itself: “I’m not political.”
It was on to the next 35 years, Basso said, and added—in terms of an as-yet unmet ambition—“I’d like to act in a movie.”
A few moments later, the 70-outfit strong collection rolled out just as he said it would: There was still fur, luxuriantly worn as ever, but there were also slinky evening dresses, ornately beaded gowns, and short leather skirts. The redoubtable Basso sails on. TIM TEEMAN
ZERO + MARIA CORNEJO
Ever since Maria Cornejo set up shop among the kinetic cool of downtown Manhattan in the late ’90s, when she opened her retail store Zero in NoLIta, she has been a passionate advocate for women.
Her website proclaims her brand “designed for women by women,” and she not only proudly participated in the Women’s March following the Trump Inauguration, she also wrote an editorial for W explaining why she did so.
But this is just a natural state of being for Cornejo. “I always design [for women], and I’m always very political. It wasn’t just about this year,” she told The Daily Beast when asked how the events of the past year influenced her design process.
It shows in her latest collection for Zero + Maria Cornejo. Her work is sexy and sleek, while also remaining functional and comfortable. She offers takes on the wrap dress in bold colors—red, sky blue, and black—that add a dash of cool with asymmetrical cuts (a classic of Cornejo) and luxurious draping.
Oversized sweaters are made from recycled cashmere (Cornejo is also passionate about sustainability), culottes are offered in multi-colored weaves, leather, and corduroy, and there is a dreamy Beetle jumpsuit in velour cord that will have you reconsidering the insect entirely.
All of Cornejo’s pieces could be classics, but that doesn’t mean they skimp on character. The collection began with a turquoise plaid that is used in a long shirt dress, ruched knee-length skirt topped by an oversize black cashmere sweater, and an oversize off-the-shoulder shirt and matching scarf.
The vibrant material helped guide the direction of the collection that Cornejo says was inspired by her early days living in London after her family moved to the U.K. from Chile.
Fashion is nothing if not about the dream, and that’s what Cornejo wanted to convey with her collection this year. “It’s about the dream, because I’m an immigrant and I’m a refugee, so I’m really very full-on about that,” Cornejo says. “And part of the diversity of fashion comes from the energy that comes from different cultures and from all of us.” ALLISON MCNEARNEY