A Fur Thing

Fur is a sure thing for fall, as evidenced by Dennis Basso's boffo show, Michael Kors' sleek styles and handbags in mink and rabbit.

Michael Kors for Pologeorgis: Michael Kors might just be New York’s most stalwart supporter of exuberant American sportswear — luxed up to the nth degree and beyond. Which is precisely the attitude he worked for his fur collection for Pologeorgis, presented last week in a series of low-key showroom presentations. In a 15-piece capsule of the much larger collection, Kors played smartly to his customer’s sleek tendencies with trim shapes and a racy attitude — a sheared mink pea jacket, anyone? How about urbane Aspen in a white mink lodge jacket? Of course, the Kors girl loves to indulge in a bit of decoration now and then. For her more lady-fied moments, he offered a jeweled, shrunken broadtail jacket, and when her mood calls for glorious indiscretion, a long, bright red sheared mink coat with an enormous raccoon collar.

Dennis Basso: There’s a difference between a fur show and a fashion show, and this has seldom boded well for the fur market. But with the presentation he staged on Monday afternoon, Dennis Basso crossed over brilliantly, with a surety and style his colleagues would be well advised to take note of, should FICA ever choose to revive its now-dormant group show.

The presentation had all the makings of a real fashion show: live models, nonhideous hair and makeup, professional production and a point of view beyond the latest redux of classic glam for the tony matron set. It also had some news behind the chic: the elevation of longtime design assistant Nicolas Petrou to the position of creative director, a point Basso heralded boldly on his show notes but played down in a telephone chat. The show was styled to near perfection, with multiple strands of massive beads and embroidered underpinnings heightening the controlled exotica. But really, it was the furs that sparkled, figuratively if not literally. They dazzled with a bold, unfussy attitude that veered toward the earthy while flaunting their ultrarefined execution for a look Basso called “East meets West meets Park Avenue.”

He could write fashion copy. Early looks hinted at Native American influences but moved seamlessly into Indian of the Eastern persuasion, with a soupcon each of Mongolian and au courant witchy wear. The predominant shape was lean through the waist then flared and done up with all kinds of extras — bright embroideries, beadwork, lace, scallops and whipstitching, as well as a bounty of material mixes strong on broadtail and sueded mink and sable. It was all the kind of fabulous that will make hard-core fashion lovers take notice, if they haven’t already.

This story first appeared in the May 17, 2005 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

As for Basso’s core customer, in the throes of heady post-show/new-title excitement, Petrou maintained that, given her current substantial fur wardrobe, “She’s not looking for a classical, traditional coat….If it’s not creative, I don’t want to do it.” But the boss said au contraire. Suffice it to note that when Liza, Star or Mrs. Smith is in the market for a new full-length sable, Dennis will still be her go-to guy, and he would be loath to disappoint.