Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
Last Wednesday during New York Fashion Week, Dennis Basso presented his Spring/Summer 2020 collection at Spring Studios. A fun and flirty line that hypothetically pulled on our vacation heartstrings, it was full of inviting colors like white, coral, and calming shades of blue. Cocktail dresses and kaftans caught our attention between fur coats and gowns—all made up of varying fabrics, from silk gazar to satin. Special for the collection, as well, was an art-infused finale. Closing the show was Basso hand-in-hand with New Orleans-based artist Ashley Longshore, who hand-painted his trousers and her floor-length cape.
After the show, Whitewall caught up with Longshore and Basso to hear more about the new collection, how art impacts design, and how the label is designed in a sustainably responsible way.
WHITEWALL: Ashley, tell us a bit about your collaboration with Dennis Basso. What do you admire about him as a designer?
ASHLEY LONGSHORE: Dennis Basso is a legend! He knows how to make a woman look like a real woman and he appreciates how to design for a wide range of body types. He wrangles glamour and style together like the fashion Wizard of 5th Ave! When he asked me to close the show with him, I was absolutely honored. He dresses royalty and the most beautiful women in the world! I hand painted 15 yards of the most beautiful fabric for the very dramatic piece he made for me. In the fitting, I felt like Elizabeth Taylor! I just absolutely adore him personally and admire him so much professionally. He is fun and lovable, and I am a Dennis Basso Girl forever!
WW: Dennis, walk us through your new collection.
DENNIS BASSO: This season was all about capturing the essence of a breezy holiday with ladies who enjoy Newport, Biarrtiz, Southampton, and Palm Beach. The patterned prints and soothing colors support this idea of a confident woman who wears her clothes and who doesn’t let the clothes wear her. She’s confident, driven, intelligent and enjoying a moment of peace with her friends with the distant ruffle of leaves and ocean trailing behind her. The collection embodies taste and exquisite fit, both necessary for a summer season abroad.
WW: Can you tell us a bit about collaborating with Ashley Longshore?
DB: What is there to say? She represents the DB girl so well it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what that may be… She’s modern, confident, energetic and creative, and, she looks great in the clothes. It’s been an honor to partner with her this season and I look forward to incorporating her energy into my future designs.
WW: You’ve been in the fashion world since 1983. What’s the biggest change you’re seeing happen today?
DB: I think many designers can agree with me on this one, but social media, of course. It raises the level of competition when you can see everyone’s collection, behind the scenes, intimate moments, etc., splashed across Instagram, but it also drives me to create more uniquely, more passionately, and to constantly embrace and support who the DB woman is.
WW: You design and make everything here in NYC, which is sustainably responsible. What are some positive takeaways for business and planet you see from designing and making everything here?
DB: I can keep an eye on everything. I make sure nobody is taken advantage of or misguided — if there’s an issue, I’m the first on the scene. Overseas when people allocate their manufacturing… you lose a big part of the support system that designers like myself can offer by keeping operations local.
WW: What’s a day in your atelier like?
DB: A typical day is a busy, inspiring day. Each one is unique and engaging, just like my collections. I am usually sketching and hunting for new materials and colors alongside my design team. Our facilities are in Long Island City and we have a varied workforce of seamstresses, designers, studio members, and creatives on site.
WW: Tell us a bit about your relationship with the art world.
DB: The thing I love about art is that it’s all different. All of it…different. How wonderful is that? That so many people can be inspired, can create, and that all of it can be appreciated by a different eye. It’s much like designing clothes, which I think is why art resonates so deeply with me; it’s not only found in my work, but also everywhere around me with the women who wear my clothes, the stores where I am carried, the places I travel to find inspiration, my ever growing network of talented and driven people, my friends. Just look, art brought me together with the talented Ashley Longshore, who is an artist that perhaps 20 years ago I could never have dreamed of meeting. But now? I look for her talent. It’s new, fresh, honest and resonates.
WW: Who is the Dennis Basso woman?
DB: The DB girl is any woman who embraces her true self in forms of sophistication, poise, motion, deliverance and awareness. I meet a new version of the DB girl every day, and let me tell you, that is some amazing inspiration.