"I'm trying to get into the swing of the proper marketing schedule," said Gaby Basora. "I'm unrecognizable to myself, marching to the beat of the industry drummer."
Basora laughed, but she wasn't entirely joking. Since launching her line, Tucker by Gaby Basora, at Barneys New York in March 2006, the former stylist who has become known as "the loose fitting peasant blouse girl" (her words) has gone on to watch her label become something of a cult phenomenon, with industry insiders and fashionable girls across America snapping up her smocked-neck tops and dresses like they were going out of style. Which they most certainly are not.
In fact, it's the inherent timelessness of her signature garments that helped propel the laid-back mother-of-three into the situation in which she currently finds herself. Thrilled by her overnight success (Tucker is now carried in more than 60 stores nationwide, including Intermix, Scoop and Ron Herman), but more than a little baffled by the speed at which the line took off, Basora has gone from making tops and dresses as a hobby to designing a full-on collection in the space of 12 months.
"Going into a showroom was a nice motivation to work on new shapes," Basora told The Fashion Informer when we stopped by to check out her new midtown digs, a cluttered work space she shares with jewelry designer Alyssa Norton and VPL's Victoria Bartlett. "I'm always inspired to design things that I would want to wear or because I like a shape for myself."
To wit: a slim smocked tunic, which is decidedly more streamlined than the original Tucker dress (now simply referred to in-house as "The Dress") and a spaghetti strapped camisole that has the same versatility Basora demands from all of her creations. "You can tuck it in, you can leave it out, you can put a belt on it or adjust the neck so it's straight or more gathered, it can be lowered in the front, lowered in the back," she recited while doing all of the above with a printed red cami she up for demonstration purposes. "It's a totally different body [than The Dress], but it does have the same vibe that you can dress it up or dress it down so it can be as precious or not precious as you want it to be," she added. "It's all about finding a cut that's really flattering and beautiful on but that looks effortless."
The thirtysomething Basora also has an affinity for the shapes and styles of the 1970s, as can be seen in the high-waisted pants, disco dolly skirts, va-va-va-voom jumpsuit, hippie-haute Henley and scoop neck vest she introduced for spring and fall, all of which pair very nicely with the blouse version of The Dress, thankyouverymuch. "A lot of the pieces are complimentary to the original Tucker blouse," she said. "Whether it's the wool crepe jumpsuit or the little vest, which allows you to wear the blouse in the winter and the pretty things about it don't get lost under a cardigan or sweater."
Basora has begun developing her own prints and fabrics in-house ("My hope is that by spring '08, all of the prints will be my own"), and plans to work with Norton on a few limited-edition pieces, such as a strappy dress that would incorporate Norton's jewelry as the cording. "We are absolutely intent on doing a collaboration," she said.
Now that she's got the designing and delivery dates thing down, Basora also wants to open her own store in the not-too-distant future, which would allow her to recapture a bit of the instant gratification she's had to give up in light of her recent success. "The exciting part of this is when you come up with an idea, have a sample made and the sample looks great," she explained. "You just want to be doing it now. But you have to save them for the appropriate selling season, which is kind of a letdown, creatively. I'd love to take a handful of bodies that are really great and produce them immediately, in small runs, to sell in my own store."
But whether she opens a boutique this year or next, it's clear that the pint-sized brunette is in it for the long haul - though she still sounds starry eyed when talking about her trajectory. "It's really funny because when I first started I just made something for myself that I liked, and I didn't really know that it was gonna translate out into so many different shapes and bodies. I see it on different people and it takes on a different life on everybody."
Basora paused and offered up a huge, beatific grin. "It's pretty exciting to watch it all unfold."
To learn more about Tucker by Gaby Basora, visit www.tuckerbygabybasora.com.
Studio photos © The Fashion Informer. Still shots courtesy of Tucker by Gaby Basora.