New York, NY – February 11, 2019: Model walks the runway for Dennis Basso Fall/Winter 2019 collection during fashion week at Cipriani 42nd Street (Photo: Lev Radin/Gildshire)
So many designers, so little time. While every runway show that happened during the long-awaited New York Fashion Week was spectacular, here is an overview of Dennis Basso’s, J. Mendel’s, and Claudia Li’s shows. Each was utterly unique and spoke to the audience on a personal level.
Dennis Basso, native New Yorker and fur connoisseur, outdid himself during New York Fashion Week. He embodied his home state and created a collection for “real” New York girls, whether they live there or not. Backstage, Basso had said, “It’s all about every woman around the world, no matter where she’s from — Cairo to Dubai to Japan to Paris to São Paulo — everybody wants to be a New York City girl, a little bit. Trust me, when they come to New York, they think, ‘Do I look New York enough?’”
“Easygoing and fun, glamorous,” he called it, and the collection surely speaks that for itself. As a more cohesive collection than he has presented in the past, Basso defined the New York City look as high-low and funky-sophisticated. Lady Liberty is his ultimate New York City icon, who symbolizes freedom, strength, and independence, qualities that he sees in his definition of New York girls as well.
From signature furs to leather, this collection dripped of pure luxury and couth. Primarily earth tones and crimson-burgundy hues, Basso infused rich shades of aubergine, coffee, daffodil, pink, and black. Along with the luxurious furs and leather, Basso included hand-beaded embellishments to several of the evening and day looks. Closing his show was supermodel legend Carol Alt, who sported a magnificent black top and belted golden-rust colored evening gown. Basso is a master when it comes to craftsmanship and detail; this latest collection certainly did not disappoint.
Gilles Mendel brought a youthful and casual touch to the classic label his ancestors began back in the 1870’s, J. Mendel. As a brand associated with uptown ladies of New York, J. Mendel has always been thought of as “polished.” Designers of this generation are slowly becoming more interested in this “polished” look and Mendel views this interest as related to sustainability in that people are not only becoming more conscious of their surroundings but also in what they wear. The more conservative look is a response to the excessiveness of trends and disposability.
Most of the pieces were rooted in nature aesthetics. Mendel felt that “raw things” add a textural component of fashion. He utilized marble, rough geodes, and jagged quartz in the collection. The natural objects contributed a tactile aspect to the various dresses and outerwear pieces that were worn down the runway. Each piece implored the viewer to reach out, touch, and examine the fabric and the care that went into making it.
In this Fall/Winter collection, Claudia Li focused on her true passion and channeled her fashion school days. Li experimented with weaving and braiding techniques that add a little extra je ne sais quoi. Using an abstraction of a photograph Li took of a lily, she splashed it onto a variety of pieces in the collection. Similarly, she added Mongolian lamb shearling to sleeves of sweaters, something that had not been done before, which created a bold statement.
After showing her spring collection featuring a solely Asian cast, Li received praise and was encouraged to do the same for this show. The encouragement really helped her to do what she truly wanted to for this collection. Overall, the result was fresh, modern, elegant, and personal.
Each piece in every collection was fabulous. We are already eagerly awaiting next season’s show for the fresh new looks that these designers (and all the others) are going to bring to us!