An affable Dennis Basso couldn't help but poke fun at himself.
"How good was that retouching?" Basso laughed, referring to a flattering photo projected behind him as he accepted his award at Fashion Group International Chicago's "Night of Stars" event at the city's Peninsula hotel last week.
Basso's luxury fur and ready-to-wear business was one of five companies, including fine jeweler Judith Ripka and local women's and men's retailer Jake, recognized by the fashion group as leaders in the areas of fashion, accessories, retail and home furnishings.
The night was a good-natured affair, highlighted by Basso, who noted that after starting his business in 1983, he remembered reading about various designers winning awards in WWD and thought "could that ever be me?"
"It's an unbelievable compliment," said Basso, who opened a Chicago store on Michigan Avenue in 2005.
Meanwhile, Bob Berk, who owns Chicago's more than 10-year-old Judith Ripka store on Oak Street and is also the designer's brother-in-law, accepted the award for Ripka.
The brand boasts 15 stores and 300 international distribution points, and Berk told the audience how his attorney brother Ron met Ripka, how she paid his brother in jewelry and how his mother said, "Go back and marry that girl!"
Partners in business and in life, Jake owners Lance Lawson and Jim Wetzel noted that when they started their business, which highlights American designers such as Doo-Ri Chung, Lutz & Patmos and Phillip Lim, in 2004, "no one was recognizing the savvy here," they said.
Some of those designers had little or no representation in Chicago, they said, and that fact helped Jake grow to two locations in Chicago, one in suburban Winnetka and possibly a fourth location in New York, where the pair is scouting sites.
Also honored were Baker Furniture, which opened its first Chicago store in October 2007, and the 900 Shops, the shopping center at 900 North Michigan Avenue, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary and houses some 70 retailers, including Bloomingdale's, Coach, MaxMara and Mark Shale.
"FGI seeks to recognize those who influence and direct our industry," said Susan McCullough, president of the Fashion Group Foundation of Chicago. "They [the winners] have each made a mark in the industry and in Chicago."Proceeds from the event, in which tickets were $350 apiece, went toward the foundation's scholarship fund. The final tally wasn't available at press time.
Supermodel @helenachristensen teamed up with longtime friend and designer @camillastaerk on a joint @paredeyewear collaboration. The lineup features three styles and 11 offerings, all of which embody a vintage feel. Get all the details on how they celebrated the collab on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories #wwdeye (📷: @slovekinpics)
“It’s a hard industry to keep motivated, as well, so finding different subjects and people is what makes it worth it – when you’re like, oh, I’ve met great people, I feel like I’ve done something good, and I feel proud of having done this,” said French actress Stacy Martin on being grateful for the variety of roles she’s take on. Read @ktauer’s full interview with Martin on her her latest film “Godard Mon Amour.” #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
After showing in front of the Eiffel Tower for his last two women’s ready-to-wear collection, it looks like @anthonyvaccarello may be heading to the Big Apple. Sources say the designer will stage his next @ysl show in NYC on June 6. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion