The style, strength and grace of great American families were the inspiration for Dennis Basso’s spring collection 2024 and with that in mind, he turned to his yearslong friend Cornelia Guest.
Once dubbed the “Debutante of the Decade,” (a title that she never took seriously), Guest not only served as the upcoming season’s muse, but she modeled the finale in Monday’s show. Although she is better known as an actress and a major Humane Society of New York supporter, she walked like a pro — thanks to another designer friend: Halston. Like her multitasking mother C.Z., an effortless style arbiter, Guest is at ease in the fashion spectrum. Few walk-off models look as relaxed and just plain happy as she did wearing a strapless black lace gown with a pale blue double-faced organza underlay and black opera gloves. Beforehand, Guest said there were “quite a few” looks that she couldn’t wait to wear.
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Fittingly, Guest first met Basso when her mother took her to Basso’s 1983 runway show and the pair became fast friends. Attendees got a glimpse of them from years ore — a photo of the pair at the 1985 “Party to End World Hunger” at Maxim’s was featured in the designer’s show notes. Never one to undersell his creativity, Basso marched out 41 looks at the Park Avenue venue. Collectively, they delivered generational options such as a silver tweed ruffled sleeve jacket, shorts and top that would suit a teenager. A strapless black-and-white polka dot tea-length dress with a black fur bolero that would be more appropriate for her mother and a grandmother-worthy tweed wide-leg pants, top and coordinating blazer.
Along with the throw-on tailored jackets, high-neck lace point d’espirit dress, floral crepe jumpsuit and white linen dress, there were other easy daytime pieces. Even the fur pieces — a white chinchilla jacket, a blue mink vest, black-dyed sable with handmade polka-dot floral motifs and a multocolored chinchilla bolero — relayed a versatility that appeals to always-on-the-go women. Evening options were Basso’s strength this season, especially the assortment of baby blue cocktail dresses and glittery gowns that were reminiscent of the classic film “High Society.” Bolder choices included a one-shoulder pale yellow chiffon cape gown and a V-neck cayenne-colored hand-embroidered gown. Some of the less translatable styles were the copper jacquard strapless dress and a chiffon floral ruffled gown. The designer also slipped in a few looks from his Dennis by Dennis Basso label for QVC.
Backstage before the lights went down, Basso admitted, “I’m a little nervous. Aren’t we all? If you’re not nervous, you’re not human.”
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