Arriving midway through a presentation is the best way to understand exactly the impact a collection has. Yesterday, when I arrived at Chris Benz at 5p.m. on the dot, the David Rubenstein Atrium was so crowded I couldn't move without accidentally bumping another Benz-lover. But I'm not complaining; all the hubbub inside means that Benz's collection may be now more popular than ever.
After his ode to Paris last season, Benz returned to America for AW11, citing his days in Savannah, GA as his inspiration for fall. The mix between art school kids (Benz mentors at SCAD) and ladies who lunch was perfectly struck, with mixed plaid ensembles that could walk from Williamsburg to Barney's without feeling out of place. Stand out looks included a shocking pink jacket (worthy of Sciaparelli's trademark name) with a red fur collar, worn with a red shirt and plaid skirt and pants, and a "panda coat" of black fur with white sleeves and collar worn with camel wide-leg trousers. Drama made it's appearance in the form of eye-level hats courtesy of Patricia Underwood, and Benz's covetable shoe collab with Alejandro Ingelmo had a new incarnation in closed toed, floral wegdes.
Of note was the proliferation of black, seen in pants, dresses, coats and hats. Colorphile Chris may have let all the color go to his head, literally. Benz's locks are a menagerie of Manic Panic colors, of which he assured me the yellow is longest lasting, and the pink, while quite chic, washes out almost instantly. For Fall neon hair and black clothes seems like just the new breed of chic New York fashion needs. Thanks Chris!
**All photos: IMAXTREE