Dennis Basso Spring 2024 Celebrates Great American Families, Features Cornelia Guest

Great American families: this was the theme of Dennis Basso’s Spring Summer 2024 show Monday. Held at 583 Park Avenue, the front row was packed with today’s equivalent of great American families, Basso’s “DB Girls”. Had they lived during Truman Capote’s time, these women would likely have been his swans: Ashley McDermott, Sara Ayres, Danielle Ganek, Caryn Zucker, and a handful more. To top it all off, Cornelia Guest, a second generation swan (her mother was the legendary C.Z. Guest), closed out the show in a stunning light blue chiffon and black lace ball gown, her blond hair swept up in a playful and sophisticated ponytail.

“I have been dressing Cornelia off and on for the past 40 years. Yikes! Time goes by!” said Basso, exhilarated. “She was my muse for this collection.”

The cover of the collection notes featured a photograph of Basso and Guest beaming at a black tie event in 1983, a year after Guest was named Deb of the Year; she became an influencer before the term existed. Known for his loyalty, joie de vivre and kindness, Basso keeps his friends close for many years, and the friendship lives on.

Guest trusted Basso to design whatever he believed would be the best creation for her.

“I know Cornelia’s taste, and I tried to create something that I knew she would feel great in, confident and just sexy enough,” said Basso. “When she first saw it at the fitting, she loved it so much. Nothing could have made me happier.”

Basso sought to create a collection that embodied “the style, strength, and grace of great American families across generations.”

“I thought using great American families as an inspiration seemed so right at this moment,” said Basso. “What I like about the idea is that it is multi-generational. I’d like to think I have something elegant and smart for the grandmother, something chic and contemporary for the daughter and something young and playful for the granddaughter.”

“That said, it was a natural idea to call Cornelia,” Basso continued. “I dressed Mrs. Guest and then Cornelia from the age of 17 to the present. Both mother and daughter have a natural chic about them, very glamorous but clearly with a nice dose of ‘tomboy’. For me, this is the best possible combination.”

The collection was exactly that: at ease on the sidelines at a horse show, at a ladies lunch in the Hamptons, or at a black tie celebration. Exquisite fur boleros were the perfect finishing touch on organza and silk chiffon evening dresses and pants. Cocktail dresses, tailored jackets and jumpsuits, classic one-shouldered dresses, all made an appearance, in a palette of pale blue, midnight black, polka dots, bronze and copper, some accented by white handmade flowers. The front row, including Jordan Emanuel, Devon Windsor, Sophie Sumner, Amelie Anstett and Aaliyah Jay, was enraptured, along with the entire audience.

“I think the collection will appeal to many different people, some who are more tailored and others who are a little more ‘girly girl’,” said Basso. “There are still many women who want to look refined and elegant, that’s why there are many different designers creating different looks. My main objective has always remained the same: I want women to look, and feel, as beautiful as possible.”

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