New York Fashion Week Spring '13: Chris Benz Introduces Denim and Designs My Sartorial Patronus

Summary: If Miss Havishman wasn’t old and bitter, and if she wore a bit of color, I think she’d be pretty pleased with Chris Benz‘s SS ’13 collection. (Let there be no mistake: this is a compliment. Miss Havisham is a personal fashion icon.) If I had a sartorial patronus, it would be in the form of looks 6 and 9 in the series of photos above. Layered drapery, pieced together with their oversized proportions forming a glorious portrait of texture and volume. In this collection there’s something really wonderful about the length of Benz’s garments, and the fearlessness with which he pairs multiple elongated pieces. It evokes a street cred quality that’s offset by the delicacy of the neutrals and the tapestry-esque appeal of the florals, poplin and lace. This collection also marks the launch of CB denim, which appeared throughout the collection but not in a distracting way. When one thinks Chris Benz, images of saturated color, exaggerated volume and audacious displays of pattern-mixing come to mind – I cannot say that denim is at the top of the list. But the choice to infuse America’s most beloved textile into his world is both bold and smart. He integrates it with the personality and attitude characteristic of his aesthetic, proving that this choice will only enhance his oeuvre, rather than to make it more commercial. I really enjoyed this collection. Chris Benz is one of those designers who brightens Fashion Week for me each season – thankfully, this was no exception.
Colors: Poppy, beige, orange, golden yellow, black, gold, carnation, melon, pink, metallic, seagrass, lime green, grass green, brown, coral, salmon, mustard, pale pink, lilac, white, denim, peach, burnt orange
Fabrics and Textures: Lurex, stripe, silk, poplin, denim, knotted, floral, flared, lace, applique, layering, paillettes, jacquard, upholstery, fils-coupe chiffon, rayon, jersey, net, stretch, cotton voile, twill
Key Looks: Oversize cardigan, silk CDC blouse, poplin trouser, afghan shawl with paillettes; Poplin + net top, stretch lace cropped palazzo pant; Upholstery jacquard top, floral jacquard skirt and trouser, silk CDC blazer.
– Amanda Aldinger

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