Well, all I can say after looking at Chris Benz's collection is that I couldn't help thinking that Oscar and Carolina could do with a little sojourn at Clinique La Prairie in Clarens-Montreux, Switzerland for their world renowned Embryonic Cell Therapy. In short , the therapy gives one a renewed youth or something that resembles a renewal. Benz also looks like the rightful recipient of the Swarovski Womenswear Award that went to Jason Wu. To take it a step further, Chris Benz is the designer that people are mistaking Jason for. He's wonderful, sophisticated, and very talented with a rich imagination. Does he blaze new trails? Not exactly, but what he weeds, reseeds and fertilizes them so that they appear familiar, only immensely improved. What's even more impressive is that he's a young designer doing the work himself, not relying on over paid stylists or an army of assistants and creative director to do all of the lifting, let alone the heavy.
According to his inspiration the collection was an homage to Carmen Miranda and the ceramic artist Sascha Brastoff. One of the very graphic prints in the collection was attributed to Sascha. That's all fine and good but they were more points of departure for an imagination with little need for direction. His fabrics were very artisanal, looking like one thing but actually an amalgam of fibers to create a whole. Tweeds were really woven strands of silk organza and ribbon. Grass cloth which is a familiar fiber for home furnishing was also printed and cut. Duchesse satin was used for a few cocktail and ball skirt confections. What was so appealing was the balance he found with combining the rich with the humble, particularly a satin ball skirt paired with a fisherman knit cardigan. This sort of aesthetic is not new, but rarely is it pulled off with such unself-conscious panache. I'm curious to watch the arc of his career. He's got the knowledge and taste to really grow and develop his own special voice. Of so many young talents on the scene, his view is very assured and quiet. If Michelle Obama and Ikram were not driving while dozing, Chris would make them both look lots better than they do. Only time will tell. The Obama Bump is neither here nor there . He's perfectly capable of rising to the top on his own merits.
On the Street…The Fortezza, Florence
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