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story by Landon Peoples
photos by Stephen F. Bodi
web editor Rachel Reneé
For quite some time, Chris Benz was fashion’s pink-haired “it boy.” It seemed the harder he went, the kookier the clothes seemed to get – and it was evident that just about everyone who was anyone loved it. Fall 2012 for Benz, though, was the equivalent of waking up to a shining, crisp New York day, and walking down into the train station only to be met with “Insufficient fare” after swiping your metro card. Heavy expectations carried even heavier disappointment. It seems as though with an increase in attention, designers tend to continue pushing their creative envelopes, but this season, Chris Benz went a little too far.
Benz, inspired by the idea of women revisiting the age of mod and “dressing up”, seemed to pull straight out of local thrift stores in Brooklyn. His signature oddball pattern choices and theatrical presentation was there, but the idea of complete looks with impeccable styling wasn’t in attendance this season. Nowadays, there’s a noted pressure for ready-to-wear designers to create clothes that are more wearable than not, but Benz seemed to have missed that memo.
Voluminous petticoats under (what appeared to be) dresses made out of aluminum foil were paired with tiny, faded cardigans. Patent leather gloves (with two holes for five fingers) and oversized bows accompanied the majority of the looks shown, which gave each model trouble as she stood atop her rustic, wooden box. Metallics, glitter, and and floral prints did, however, make Benz’s collection really fun to look at. But as Benz played with the fire of retro glam, there was that dangerous fine line between looking and mocking. A bright color palette of canary yellow, red-orange, crème, and mint green (kudos to Lady Gaga for calling that one) would have been a high point if the occasion resembled your annual “Tacky Christmas Sweater” party.
Even though Chris Benz’s Fall 2012 collection was a miss, the designer is no doubt or question one of fashion’s future heavy-hitters. With so much youth and imagination in tow, Benz is sure to find his place amongst the elite. Perhaps instead of Holly Golightly, Chris Benz’s Fall 2012 collection could adhere to the musings of Mademoiselle Coco Chanel herself, “before you leave the house, always look in the mirror, and take one thing off.”