NEW YORK — Dennis Basso plans to mark his 20th anniversary in business with a pair of big moves: He is negotiating to open a Madison Avenue flagship this fall, and he’s recruited Jack Cohen, a well-known fur veteran from Fendi, to run the store.
Cohen, who was managing director of furs at Fendi’s Fifth Avenue store for 13 years, will become director of Basso’s Madison Avenue unit. Basso said he is in talks to finalize a location within the next couple of weeks and is considering several spaces between 60th and 70th Streets.
“After 20 years of developing the product and believing that I know what women want, being on Madison Avenue will give me a final stamp of approval in the high-end arena,” said Basso, who will present his 20th anniversary collection of big furs and luxury ready-to-wear in typically outrageous fashion on May 28, with a runway show and dinner at Cipriani 42nd Street.
Basso’s company has been gaining momentum over the past year. The designer has been competing more aggressively against traditional fur companies as well as in the high-end rtw arena. Besidesopening his first store in Aspen at The Little Nell resort hotel over the winter, Basso also launched his first full accessories collection. Opening a Madison Avenue location was also among his immediate goals, the realization of which, he said, will be hastened by the addition of Cohen to his staff.
“Because of Jack’s career spanning 30 years in the luxury market and his expertise in salesmanship, along with his vast working knowledge of craftsmanship and his high taste level, he will be an extraordinary addition to the Dennis Basso company,” Basso said.
Before joining Fendi, where he was known to many of the city’s biggest fur customers, Cohen was the buyer for Bergdorf Goodman’s fur salon for 14 years, after starting his career at Neiman Marcus.
“Having Jack available to us will speed up the process of opening on Madison Avenue,” Basso said. “I wanted the space to feel like a club, and with me knowing so many women in New York and Jack knowing the rest of them, this will be a club that would welcome old friends and new.”Basso said the spaces he is considering range from 2,000 to 4,000 square feet, which would accommodate at least 50 to 60 sables, chinchillas and other luxury furs, plus the accessories collection, leather ready-to-wear and some eveningwear. Compared with the Aspen store, which is 600 square feet and exceeded its plan of $2.5 million for the season, Basso projected a first-year volume in New York of $7 million. The collection is also carried at Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdale’s in New York.
He also plans to use the same team of designers to create the space. The interior of the Aspen store was executed by Kenneth Alpert of New York, featuring limestone floors and cream, silk-lined drawers. Built-in cabinets, closets and crown mouldings are carved of sycamore wood. That store was designed by New York-based architect John Lindel in a style that Basso described as “contemporary yet extremely luxurious.”
“Anyone who knows me will know that there will also be a pristine powder room,” Basso said. “Opening on Madison Avenue will increase our tourist trade, from all the luxury hotels surrounding that area, and will make shopping more convenient for our existing clients uptown. This takes the Dennis Basso brand into another league. We are not just opening a shop, we’re making a statement about the company.”
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast