June 07, 2011 New York
Bermuda it was, then—paradise of vacationing English royalty in the nineteenth century. And, actually, that suits the Benz aesthetic of fusty-meets-fancy quite nicely. Old and new were mashed together with exuberant abandon in this collection, which adapted several Benz standards (like tweed suiting, shown with—what else?—ribbon-belted bermuda shorts) and introduced new categories, such as swim. Prints met prints (abstract leopard spot, nautical stripes, oversize flowers) on silky blouses and baby-doll dresses. Benz isn't the only designer thinking of mixing prints and color blocking, but this offering was especially and intentionally collection-as-collision-course. Maybe that explains the raw edges throughout and the need for comfortable shoes (splatter- and floral-printed sneakers by Benz's usual collaborator, Alejandro Ingelmo, the first women's sneaker the accessory designer has done). If vacation isn't time to let your hair down, when is?