CHICAGO — Dennis Basso’s victory tour arrived here Oct. 5, when he collected the top designer award for 2006 at the 52nd Annual Gold Coast Award Fashion Show.
“It’s an honor to be chosen by the people of this group, who are well-dressed, sophisticated, affluent women,” Basso said, noting the tradition in which the 1,000-plus attendees vote on their favorite designer collection. “Today’s woman has the world as her shopping avenue, and to be voted on this way is very special.”
Basso this year also won Fur New York’s Man of the Year award, launched his first ready-to-wear collection and unveiled a 2,000-square-foot store at Atlantic City’s Pier at Caesars. The luxe furrier also is scouting sites in Beverly Hills and Bal Harbour, Fla., as well as considering locations abroad — all while planning a 25th anniversary blowout in February.
“We’re growing at the correct pace,” said Basso, who takes pride in the fact that about 90 percent of his furs, apparel and accessories are made in New York under the supervision of his creative and production teams.
Opening his Windy City outpost in 2005, Basso, who also operates stores in Aspen, Colo., and New York, found Midwestern clients were interested in both fashionable and practical elements to their outerwear. “As we’ve evolved, the fashion girls have discovered us,” he said. “We have a complete mix of clients very much like New York.”
Basso, who was host for a cocktail party at his Michigan Avenue store, has made inroads in Chicago counting as clients two of the city’s most affluent families, the Pritzkers and the Crowns.
M.K. Pritzker has purchased fur pants, a matching jacket, shawl and coat from Basso. “I think he has a fabulous personality that comes out in his clothes,” she said.
Some of the 1,300 fashion luncheon attendees showed their appreciation, oohing and aahing as Basso’s $125,000 sueded sable knee-length fur coat and $6,500 long black chiffon and taffeta gown with a ribbon were worn on the runway.
The event at the Chicago Hilton hotel raised more than $450,000 for Children’s Memorial Hospital.