story by Lo Gray
photos by Adrianna Favero
If prints are personal, then consider Chris Benz as unique as they come. With bold colors in even bolder combinations, the veritable hodge-podge collage of brightness and textures proved his Spring 2012 Collection far from subtle.
The hot-pink coifed Seattle native looked to a different shore for inspiration, namely one home to a renowned Brooklyn amusement park. Benz spoke passionately about his muse during the presentation, largely inspired by “specifically the summer attached to Candy Darling and the Warhol superstars. I love the idea of the Warhol superstars go to Coney Island for a photo-shoot. They’re totally coming undone.”
For something so “undone,” it certainly comes together. The mix-and-match measures up. Under most circumstances, a short-sleeved, knee-length sequined citrine dress with neo-crimson collar and low-top black-and-white skater sneakers might be a molotov ensemble cocktail. But Benz pulls it off with shaken and stirred agility, mixing the quirky and the unexpected together flawlessly for a wonderfully controlled chaos. His eye to design for boisterous, fun, “insane players” makes camouflage, classy and sneakers, chic.
Hair-speration was drawn from the likes of Elizabeth Taylor and Debbie Harry. DJ Riggs, one half of key hair, described the concept as “beautifully distorted, trash style,” a look achieved with a combination of hot rollers, back-combing with dry shampoo, and serious hair spray. Key makeup artist, Daniel Martin, went for radiant skin with washes of color using a Lacome matte neon green Vert Trendesse palette for eyes and a special Chris Benz-Lacome collaboration red-orange lip called Sequence of Love.
Standouts, as if anything could be missed, included a camouflaged and Van Gough-esque combination print dress, over top of a muted green striped top, with Alejandro Ingelmo’s foray into women’s sneakers in camo kicks. The look was pulled together with a kelly green sequined over-sized blazer. Round Selima Optique for Chris Benz sunglasses topped off the ensemble.
The collection stood on its own, which is precisely what the models did. A simple presentation on twin apple-boxes, decorated with neon tape and the Chris Benz label, made the stage in front of a muted pastel backdrop curtain. DJ Mike Nouveau romanced the mood, opening with The Beatles’ Norwegian Wood.
Mr. Benz’s study at Marc Jacobs and J.Crew are inherent, but his departure from those looks is what makes this so clearly his own. For as loud as the visual aspect is, the pieces make up for it with an overall mood of ease. He strikes a perfect balance between what Benz’s “carefree American woman” likes and what she is comfortable in. You can’t miss his neon pink hair as certainly as you can’t miss his collection which, consequently, hits the nail on the head.