Making tracks on prints

Brian Rennie – the former head designer of Escada who is now the creative director of Basler – loves color, texture, life.

Not for him the straight-lined, monochromatic world of some designers.

“He uses animal prints in a very feminine way, with colors, patterns or flowers,” says Michael Walker, Basler’s senior vice president of retail. “That softens them.”

Last season, Rennie – a Scotsman who studied at the Royal College of Art in London – created soft, warm quilted jackets, scarves and purses in leopard spots that cascaded onto fields of hot pink roses. We were so bewitched we bought one of each. Next fall, we’ll see animal prints with jewel colors.

Meanwhile this season, leopard print pairs with spiky leaves of lime green and white and splashes of red for Rennie’s Rainforest Collection, which evokes Henri Rousseau’s jungle paintings. Other collections for the season take their inspiration from New York, Florida, Biarritz, Italy, India and Africa, where zebra stripes meet various shades of pink. (The spring/summer Basler Magazine was shot in St. Bart’s.)

“(Brian) travels around the world,” Walker says. “Fashion is all about escape.”

For many curvier women, fashion is often a journey they cannot take. Not so with Rennie’s pieces. Walker says the Frankfurt-based company, founded 75 years ago by coat designer Horst Basler, uses actual fitting models to ensure that the clothes will look well on women ranging from American sizes 4 to 22.

As the Basler website says, it’s “real clothes for real women.”


Basler is available at Bloomingdale’s in White Plains. For more, visit and

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