As his starting point for Resort, Chris Benz
was thinking of the midcentury ceramist Sascha Brastoff, whose Los Angeles milieu included another of the collection's muses, Carmen Miranda. (During his time in the U.S. Air Force, Brastoff even impersonated Miranda for a USO show.) Flash and flamboyance are hallmarks of both Carmen and Chris, of course, but Benz had a few promises at the outset. "No fruit baskets!" he said with a laugh. "Carmen Miranda was quite a tomboy in the forties."
Defining the tomboy on his terms, Benz showed abbreviated little jackets, fastened with spangled belts, in duchess satin, and high-waisted cotton sateen pants with stovepipe legs. Colors throughout were more tempered than in seasons past, but a brilliant green sponge-print suit in grass cloth—a favorite fifties interiors fabric—brought the saturation for those who might miss it, while a Brastoff-inspired print in black and white introduced a graphic element. The usual party dresses? Yes, there were a few—but, acknowledging the need to stretch himself, the puckish designer said the whole aim of the collection was "to bring the Chris Benz girl to a new era in her life." Vide a section of tweeds—very lady-who-lunches, albeit with a Benz twist. Take a closer look: The fabrics were actually silk organza, woven with ribbon and tulle, and a "gold husk tweed" shot through with Lurex. Well, no age limit on shine.