Sign up for the fashion industry, see the world. Bruno Basso and Christopher Brooke's search for inspiration took them on a two-week trip down the ancient Silk Road to fabled Samarkand, where East originally met West millennia ago. It was a high-risk endeavor (they had to travel with a bodyguard), but it yielded dividends in the overload of colors, patterns, and textures they were exposed to. As per the usual division of labor, Basso translated these into the extraordinary engineered prints that are the duo's signature, and Brooke designed the pieces that carried the prints. The clothes were significantly more straightforward than usual, as Brooke sensibly focused on classic shapes: a parka, a shirtwaister, a coat-dress, or a jersey evening dress that was as simple as an elongated T-shirt from the front but dipped to the tailbone in back. With the prints being such minor masterpieces of complexity, why gild the lily with tricksy constructions?
Brooke also added solids such as a collarless camel coat and a jacket in maroon gabardine, like andante moments in Basso's symphony of color. And what a symphony it was. You know those scenes in Avatar where you just want to stop the movie and work out exactly what it is you're looking at? There were moments like that on the Basso & Brookecatwalk, when the print collages of marble, mosaic, textile, snakeskin, feathers, and gems teased the eye. It was more comprehensible, but scarcely less striking, when a single element was used, like the chevrons of roughly woven fabric printed on a fur-collared coat. The designers also used a new fabric treatment they called "a high-gloss aqua finish," which gave some prints a liquid 3-D sheen that was practically Pandora-perfect in every way.