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NEW YORK — After 20 years in the fur business, Dennis Basso is branching into new territory with the debut of his first handbag line.

This story first appeared in the October 21, 2002 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The bags naturally feature plenty of fur, as well as details such as bamboo handles, mink rose embellishments and leather lining.

Basso, who is also preparing his first store, set to open in Aspen in late November, said: “I feel I have an understanding of what my customer wants and these bags will work well for people who have DB coats.”

The collection includes six styles of bags available in several colors and materials, with styles for day and evening. Among the materials used are Russian broadtail fur, mink and sheared mink, as well as suede, silk, and alligator and crocodile leather. Silhouettes include a hatbox shape, a large hobo style and a clutch bag. The line comes in black, light brown and wine.

While they are classic and oriented toward a sophisticated customer, the bags, made in Italy, have some modern touches, such as a pocket for a cell phone.

“I wanted to create items that women of all ages can wear,” Basso said.

The collection carries wholesale price points between $500 and $3,000, and will initially be sold in Basso’s Aspen store, with wider wholesale distribution planned for luxury stores in future seasons. Basso estimated first-year sales for this business will be about $750,000.

Known for his booming personality and often over-the-top fur creations, Basso has seen his styles grace a wide swath of socialites, entertainers and politicians, ranging from Barbara Walters and Liza Minnelli to Hillary Clinton and Eartha Kitt. In addition to his core line, Basso also sells namesake items on QVC.

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