Basso & Brooke
February 20, 2009 London
One striking effect was the detailing of a dress refracted into an abstract kaleidoscope of color to match the coat that accompanied it. It got even better with a wool trench printed so convincingly to mimic chinchilla that you could almost feel the caress of fur against the skin. Basso & Brooke know that a simple silhouette is the best canvas for their extraordinary work (well, usually they know—one dress, printed with scales like armor, flared into an unfortunate peplum that screeched Mommie Dearest). For the most part, the clothes were shifts, shirtdresses, simple tops and skirts, the better to be completely transfigured by the designers' prints.
For the specific and discerning clientele who are likely to respond to such work, this felt like revisionist luxury: an opulent look; an easy, light feel. True, these dresses had almost nothing to do with fall dressing, but you could imagine them rolled in a bag and carted off to more clement climes. Back in the showroom, there was a beautifully cut plain black coat, its broad shoulder tempered by a little pleat. Think of it as the sartorial equivalent of the restoratively head-clearing coffee beans you smell before plunging back into a round of scent sniffing.