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“It’s been an amazing journey to get here, a natural progression,” Dennis Basso beamed on Tuesday night. The designer was idling by the entrance of his new Madison Avenue flagship in Manhattan — a massive 10,500-square-foot, four-story space, the opening of which was being feted for the evening. A gaggle of loyal clients — Katie Couric, Debra Messing, Jennifer Creel, Lizzie Tisch, Gillian Miniter, Debbie Bancroft, Nina Griscom and Jamie Tisch among them — blew in from the evening cold to congratulate and double-kiss the designer.

“I feel like my journey has just begun,” he bellowed over Estelle’s “American Boy” thumping through the store. “Most people who’ve been in business for 30 years are wrapping up and I look to people like the great Mr. Valentino or the great Mr. de la Renta, they’re talented and flourishing and I want to follow in their footsteps.”

This story first appeared in the December 13, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The space is sleek and linear, with surfaces primarily within a muted palette of slate, black and bone — a happy contrast to the lush fur and glimmering floor-sweeping eveningwear dangling from the racks.

“This is amazing, the store’s beautiful,” Tommy Hilfiger said, standing by a vitrine teeming with dazzling jewels as wife Dee took a gander. “Dennis is a great, great friend so we’re very happy for him,” he added.

Up on the second floor, Hoda Kotb held court with a trio of friends and nursed a flute of Champagne. Behind her, Olivia Palermo stroked a sable coat.

Nearby, Brooke Shields explained her affection for Basso. “More is more for Dennis, that’s why I love him,” she said, her eyes wandering over to a rack. Perhaps the actress was going to pick up some Christmas gifts while she was there? “If I’m going to buy for anybody,” she laughed, “It’s going to be for myself.”