Gaby Basora Loves a Good Fashion ‘Don’t’

Tucker designer Gaby Basora was stopped by New York’s Look Book almost five years ago, wearing a khaki Barbara Bui jumpsuit to pick up her kids from school (way ahead of her time, that one). “I wear whatever the hell I want,” she explained then. These days, Basora’s style is a bit more refined: She mixes her own collection of printed silk blouses and dresses with eclectic vintage-store finds. After opening a short-lived Lower East Side boutique last year, Basora was approached to do a Target collaboration, which launches September 12.

Though she’s one of the youngest labels to design for the megachain, her splashy prints and timeless silhouettes have earned her a devoted following. “I’ve managed to establish a really niche, identifiable look,” she says. “This was an opportunity to offer the Tucker aesthetic to a huge audience.” Up next, the designer is collaborating on prints for spring 2011 and casting around for a new, larger storefront. We talked to Basora about her photographic inspiration for fall, her affinity for red-carpet misses, and her latest impulse buy.

How hard was it to translate your silks into a lower-priced line?
Surprisingly, it wasn’t the challenge I thought it would be. There was a handful of my signature styles that I wanted to include, and I was really happy with how they came out. I also got to do some pieces I’ve never done before, like this amazing fleece jumpsuit.

What was the inspiration for the Target collection?
Maria Schneider and Jack Nicholson in The Passenger. There was also this broader inspiration of iconic women, like Sophia Loren and Françoise Hardy. I like that easy vanity: taking someone who’s quite put-together and combining it with something more carefree.

Who are your favorite designers?
Dries Van Noten has such courage in mixing prints and textures; the unexpectedness is so interesting. And I love the drape of YSL — there’s something incredibly timeless about his silhouettes.

What’s the first designer item you ever bought?
I bought a beautiful Army-green-and-gray striped sweater from Dolce & Gabbana in the early nineties. I had a traumatic parting with it: I was moving, and I put all my favorite clothes into one garbage bag, to move them last. My sister thought it was garbage and put it out on the street.

Where do you like to shop in New York?
I like to find obscure little vintage stores and antique shops. I do a lot of exploring — I ride my bike pretty much everywhere and pop into random stores. I found the headband that I wore at my wedding at an antique store on East 66th Street.

Looks from the Tucker for Target collection.Photo: Courtesy of Target.

How would you describe your personal style?
Eclectic and kind of seventies-inspired. I ride my bike a lot, and I end up in pants more often than I wish — the long skirts tend to get caught in my wheel.

What trends are you appreciating right now?
Print mixing. I also love the palette right now: neutral blushes, beige, brown, and Army green.

What trends are you ready to see retired?
Whenever I see the fashion “don’ts” in magazines, I pretty much always love them. I like the “don’ts” more than the “dos.”

What’s one item you’re saving to buy?
I’m pretty impulsive. I bought myself an anniversary ring recently in L.A. It’s very masculine; it looks like a pinky ring, but I wear it on my ring finger. It reminds me of something my grandfather had, so I felt really connected to it.

What’s one item every woman should have in her closet?
A great undergarment, whether it’s a bodysuit, bra, or underwear. If you love the foundation, you’re going to feel good about whatever else goes on top.

What’s something you never leave the house without?
My bicycle — I pretty much ride year-round. I lived in Amsterdam when I was younger, and you develop this complete resiliency to ride straight into the wind.

Gaby Basora Loves a Good Fashion ‘Don’t’