Chris Benz is now part of the fashion mentorship program at SCAD, Georgia's famously libertine art school, and the job has sent him down to Savannah with some regularity. The city has proven inspirational. "Savannah is such a strange place," Benz said at his presentation today. "Caught between Southern decorum and the influx of art school kids—it's quite a collision." You could hardly script it better. With his taste for slightly dusty, granny-takes-a-trip finery and a puckish sense of fun (he's currently sporting a pointy quiff dyed several shades of Manic Panic neon), Benz just about embodies that mash-up himself.

The city's stately old mansions sent the designer scrambling for interiors and upholstery fabrics; the results, reeking of Southern gentility, included pieces in velvet and Lurex-threaded tweed. The famous Savannah ghost stories lent themselves to spooky prints of pluming smoke. But while the backdrop has changed, the Benz aesthetic has traveled perfectly intact. Key silhouettes have a playful, campy appeal, like a series of trapeze dresses topped off with giant bows; their shape was echoed in swingy cape coats with Pologeorgis fur or shearling trim. Overall, a darker palette predominated. But a two-tone butter-colored leather dress harked back to sunnier days.