NEW YORK — Having had a Madison Avenue store here for the past 10 of the 30 years he has been in business, Dennis Basso has upped the ante by relocating a few blocks north to a 10,500-square-foot space.
Over the weekend, the designer quietly opened the doors to 825 Madison Avenue. While a shopper browsed through the fur jackets, sequined eveningwear and crocodile clutches on the first floor on Monday morning, a crew of contractors was busy plastering and hammering the three floors above. During a walk-through — which at times was a bit precarious — Basso motioned toward what he described as a floating glass staircase, an expansive area for his first mink-covered midcentury furniture and a residential-type, fourth-floor office with a Juliet balcony. “It’s going to be like a mini Dennis Basso department store,” he said. “Being a true salesman, the dressing rooms are already in.” RELATED CONTENT: Dennis Basso RTW Spring 2014 >>
With a 15-year lease that will be nearly a $3 million commitment in rent this year, Basso is far from winding down his career. “Most people would be looking to ease up after 30 years in business, but I have never felt more excited,” he said. “I always say that when you are doing something that you love, it’s not work. When I moved to Madison Avenue 10 years ago, I thought that was the pinnacle of my business career. Now here I am in a space three times the size with an expanded accessories line.”
His wholesale showroom will be housed on the fourth floor, and on-site seamstresses were sewing away in what will be an atelier, which he noted was uncommon for the neighborhood, “very much like Paris in the Fifties,” said Basso, adding that an attendant will always be at the ready with silver-tray espresso service for shoppers. “We’re back to customers really wanting to be treated like customers again. When customers are treated well, they really want to return to that store, or maybe even call before to see if that salesperson is working,” he said.
Basso has enlisted four architectural and interior specialists to design the landmark building, which previously was occupied by a Dolce & Gabbana store. Sawicki Tarella is handling the historic facade, John Lindell is taking care of the interior and Kenneth Alpert will handle the interior design of the offices. Alpert has created all of Basso’s homes. Each of the three sales floors will have dark gray slate floors and glass walls so that the emphasis is on the clothes, and the first floor features screens playing runway show footage. The boutique also has 30 feet of frontage on Madison Avenue.
The new monochromatic contemporary layout should help boost 2014 sales by 10 percent, according to Basso, who is predicting a 6 percent gain this year. The midcentury home furnishings, blankets and throws — something Basso has done on a customized basis for interior designers in the past — will now be offered to shoppers.
Having introduced ready-to-wear six years ago, which now includes resort and pre-fall, the designer plans to introduce more daytime pieces. A bridge line for department stores and specialty stores is also in the works potentially for next year, but Basso was quick to note “not a navy blazer because you don’t need to come to Dennis Basso for a navy blazer.” (Retail prices would range from about $150 to $500.)
The boutique will be open seven days a week through the holidays, and its grand opening party is set for Dec. 10. While 16 staffers are based in the uptown location, the company also has a 30,000-square-foot facility in Long Island City that is used for a design studio and manufacturing. With five other boutiques and concept shops, the designer is still getting used to his new Madison Avenue address. “This location is significant to where the Dennis Basso brand is going,” he said. “Let’s put it this way: The day I went into business in 1983, I did not imagine having a store next to Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino a door away.”
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye
"Nowadays when life is not so happy with everything going on in the world, I think people come to me for a little bit of whimsy and color and fun." - Designer Rebecca De Ravenel on her cult-favorite jewelry line. (📸 : @vsteves) #wwd40
“Everyone is talking about how the retail industry is struggling, but I think it’s an incredible time because brands who are doing something different and innovative are setting themselves up for the future,” said @adamgoldston, who founded the luxury athletic brand @apl with his brother @ryangoldsten. The Goldston’s are part of WWD’s 40 under 40: a group of industry notables. See the rest of the list on WWD.com. (📷: @vsteves) #wwd40
@eyeswoon blogger Athena Calderone debuted her first-ever cookbook, “Cook Beautiful,” which is heavily centered on the presentation and visual expression of food. Pictured here are her miso glazed carrots from the book. Get the recipe on WWD.com. (📷: @johnny_miller_) #wwdeye