In American Fashion News… Chris Benz is Back at It

Chris Benz. Photo courtesy of Matteo Prandoni/BFAnyc.com

Bill Blass… it isn’t the first design house that comes to mind when we picture sometimes pink-haired designer Chris Benz, who has taken the last few seasons off from his own eponymous collection entirely… but the designer is back, having just been announced as creative director for the less than relevant of late Bill Blass… a American design house┬áthat achieved incredible success… in the ’80s.

Benz should bring a much needed jolt to Bill Blass. We’ll see his first collection for Spring 2016.

NYFW Day 5: Rachel Roy, Chris Benz, & Betsey Johnson Awesome Cartwheel

Now that we’re halfway through NYFW, fashion’s most celebrated veterans are emerging to present their latest collections. While designers like Rachel Roy (one radiant look above) and Chris Benz opted for a fresh, intimate feel, Betsey Johnson couldn’t wait to roll out her signature glammed-out runway show – and damn, was it flashy. Peep a few key moments from all three collections – and a bonus Betsey cartwheel video! – after the jump.

image Romantic minimalism was the name of the game for Roy’s SS12 collection. The modern simplistic looks exuded femininity, but with smart contrasting touches like nude belts and footwear. I couldn’t take my eyes off this gray-red knit number.

image Chris Benz brought his signature cheekiness for spring by mixing granny prints (complete with gray-haired models) with retro-vintage footwear. The 3D floral platforms by Alejandra Ingelmo for Chris Benz are destined for It-shoe greatness. image Betsey Johnson’s spring collection was all about ’40s glamor and sex. Vamped-out models strutted down the catwalk in Burlesque-style looks with naughty cutouts showing the designer’s classic peek-a-boo hot pink lingerie. Being that I sat behind the fantastic doo-ragged Patricia Field, and looked on as a blue-coiffed Nicki Minaj (whose song opened the show) and Lynn Yaeger shot the shit, I really couldn’t complain.

It wouldn’t be a Betsey Johnson show without the designer’s signature cartwheel finale. I captured her rad cartwheel fake-out that transitioned into an actual cartwheel-split combo below:

More Shoe Collaborations for SS11: Chris Benz, Aldo, & Steve Madden

Today I pointed to a crop of vibrant new shoe collaborations for SS11: Nicholas Kirkwood x Rodarte and Nicholas Kirkwood x Prabal Gurung, Christian Siriano x Payless, and Loeffler Randall x Suno… and that’s just for starters. In fact, there are even more noteworthy footwear partnerships surfacing this fashion week that connoisseurs of designer collaborations will not want to miss. Chris Benz has teamed up with celebrated (and Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund finalist) designer Alejandro Ingelmo on a pair of wedge kicks with a colorful floral print. And the bright, floral, wedge trend for spring plays on.

Over at Aldo, SS11 is getting collaboration-happy as well. “They’re teaming up with designer Julian Louie to create a collection of eight patterned wedges made from patchwork suede and patterned cotton,” says Nylon, while Susie Bubble scored a few shots of the shoes themselves. Aldo is also working with the prince of androgynous fashion, Rad Hourani, on SS11 shoes, adds Susie Bubble (who described the styles, which premiered on Hourani’s runway this week, as “black slitty leather with a square heel”).

Steve Madden is following suit. The shoe mavens at Madden’s HQ provided the footwear for Zac Posen’s lower-priced line, Z Spoke, at its show this fashion week. Styles include extremely tall wedges (yet again), a lace-up bootie (also a style seen on Alexander Wang’s runway), and a classic pink pump with a bow. Simply put, there’s going to be a lot of footwear for thought come SS11. An extra hearty Belve toast for that!

Chris Benz on the Best NYC Date

There was nothing dull about Chris Benz‘s SS10 presentation, which took place at Drive In Studios on 18th St. near the West Side Highway yesterday. First off, the collection’s color palette is so bright you’d swear it were plucked from a jar of jelly beans. Benz, however, sourced it somewhere distinctly different: “the color palette is inspired by Memphis design from the early 80s, which was a furniture and interior design trend that was all about fads, polka dots and bold stripes and bold colors.” There were flirty cocktail dresses a plenty, over-sized, sparkly sequins, and a few safari-inspired pieces for good measure.

Given the fact that Benz hosted his presentation in a studio named after an iconic date destination, I asked him what kind of evening one could plan were they intending to woo the slim-fitting pants right off him: “I would love a drive-in movie. It’s so hard to find now.” So a dinner-and-a-movie sort of deal? “I don’t love dinner and a movie. I love dinner and walking around. I think it’s so fun to live in New York where you can walk around all night. Bleeker Street is so long, you can take it from 8th Avenue all the way to the Bowery, so I think Bleeker is a good date walk.”

The (Solar) Power of T-Shirts

The fashion world is responsible for bestowing upon us much good. It’s indirectly (or directly) responsible for the Kate Moss coke tape, the latest cover of V Magazine, and come to think of it, our September issue. Every once in a while, the gliteratti of the fashion world unite for a supremely worthy cause. A jaunt to JustOneFrickinDay.com will reveal just cause in Joey Jalleo and Elettra Wiedemann’s (supermodel face of Lancome and daughter of Isabella Rossellini) effort to bring a solar-powered hospital to the African nation of Burundi. The Burundi Solar project aims to raise $450K by gathering six of the fashion industry’s most influential rising stars to design T-shirts for purchase on their website. Chris Benz, Giambattista Valli, Rogan, Rag & Bone, Phillip Lim and House of Diehl have designed the limited edition shirts for $60 each. T-shirts have been on sale since yesterday, so be a pal and help a nation out.

Songs to Strut To: Fashion Week Runway Jams

New York Fashion Week topples over with model pouts, distended egos, and double-kisses. The whole circus is as fabulous as it is absurd. To usher in the Spring 2008 collections, we checked in with young, fun strut peddlers to find out what they’ll be listening to—on and off the runway.

Erin Fetherston ● New Young Pony Club, “Ice Cream” ● The Rolling Stones, “She’s a Rainbow” ● Santogold, “Lights Out” ● She & Him, ” I Was Made For You” “These are some of my favorite songs for the Spring 09 season — each one has a unique tone but they share a common theme of love and happiness.”

Jay Godfrey ● Marianne Faithful, “Sister Morphine” ● Feist, “I Feel It All” ● Hot Chip, “Boy From School” ● Junior Boys, “In The Morning” “The first one is an old rock classic, but we would remix it to speed it up and give it a modern edge. Then the last three are newer songs that are fun, youthful, and have a great beat — tunes that are sexy and modern that a woman would have on her playlist to host a fabulous cocktail party.”

Chris Benz ● JaConfetti, “Step Up” ● George Michael and Aretha Franklin, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” ● Róisín Murphy, “You Know Me Better” ● Anna Vissi, “Call Me” ● George Harrison, “Got My Mind Set On You”

Frank Tell ● “Like an Animal (Adam Crystal remix),” the Glove. “I love the lyrics to this song: ‘One mile in the air that’s where she lives / Her body looks so thin and pink and small / Dropping eggs from nervous shaking hands / And swallowing her fingers as they fall / … Fight her all you want; you’ll never win … ‘” ● “Being Boiled,” the Human League. ● “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” Bauhaus. “I first discovered this song while watching The Hunger. Catherine Deneuve. I really don’t need to say any more.”

Rachel Comey “Anything by Hercules and the Love Affair rocks my runway!”

Charlotte Ronson ● Chester French, “She Loves Everybody” ● The Virgins, “Murder” ● Coldplay, “Death and All His Friends” “This season, my collection was inspired by The Virgin Suicides. Although Air created the music for the film, that choice would be too obvious for my collection. I want to use songs that are romantic with a more current, modern sound to them. These three songs emulate that to me.”

Alexander Wang “All I can do is hint at what we’ll play during Fashion Week … Foxy Brown and Kelis.”