Benz's designs for SS12 were, without a doubt, in some of the brightest and more daring colorways you'll see this season, inspired by old Warhol-era Poloroid photos. Shades of pinks clashed in a multi-pattered suit look. A de-saturated camouflage vied for attention with a thin plaid in the same palette. Every color had its moment, from a ripe orange to an athletic gray. The structure of the clothing was just as diverse at its colors. Fitted cropped pants balanced out the flouncy dresses.
At the bottom of each look, it was either bad girl pointy-toed pumps or even-badder-girl floral high-top sneakers. (Both styles courtesy of a collaboration with Alejandro Ingelmo). Jewelry by The Woods, watches by Movado, and eyewear by Selima Optique rounded out Benz's SS12 collaborations, pushing Benz's offerings into lifestyle brand territory. Finding a place to rest one's eye was the most difficult part of the presentation, because every look was styled with enough garments and goodies to send fashion folk into a frenzy. As I walked through the presentation and bumped into friends, each one breezed through "Hello" to start a sentence with "Have you seen the..." and end with, "... I'm dying to have it, aren't you?"
This just proves Benz' supernatural ability to appeal to just about every demographic. From Jenna Lyons, to Johnny Weir, to Michelle Obama, to the Real Housewives of New Jersey, everyone wants to wear in Chris Benz, even boys! I'm sure it didn't take much convincing to get Andrej Pejic to pose for the lookbook. Who wouldn't want to lounge around in sequin green trousers, channeling a 20-something Iris Apfel?
Benz's self proclaimed "undone glamour" is what makes his line so alluring to all types of people. When speaking of his inspirations he focused on Candy Darling, a transsexual Warhol scenester, and the original gender-bending blonde bombshell. (Sorry Andrej.) Darling's look wasn't perfectly put together, but it was the disorder that team Benz was going for, "We got really into the idea of Candy Darling going to Coney Island and doing a photoshoot, and her hair flowing around and her makeup smearing. Like when it's so hot you're like "I don't even care, I'm just going to do this, and it's going to be great," said Benz.
The nonchalance, the simple over-the-topness is the essence of Benz' appeal. Or as Rose McGowan said to me about wearing Chris Benz, "I decided to be as obnoxious as possible but still look like a lady. I mean obnoxious in a very fun way, I don't like neutrals, I don't like people who blend in. So he's the perfect marriage of standing out but looking great... Also I want the camouflage jacket. I will cut a bitch to get that."