August 20 2014

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Chris Benz’s L.A. Story


In town for a few short days of Fall ’10 press appointments at the Chateau (including some strategic meetings with stylists for appearances at Cannes), Chris Benz (pictured, with Shiva Rose) took a little breather to mingle with friends at a cocktail party thrown in his honor at interior designer Nathan Turner’s West Hollywood store. It wasn’t his own stomping grounds, per se—Benz is from Washington State—but the native West Coaster was feeling the left-side vibe. “Being from Seattle, I totally get L.A.,” Benz said. “It’s such a big market for us because people just get the clothes and that casual elegance that we try and convey.”

Why is that? Call it the shining-sun effect of the California climate (despite, that is, the evening’s unseasonably cool temperatures and gusty breezes—they didn’t seem to keep the crowd at bay, anyhow). “L.A. is nice because it has that great mix of cool girl and classic lady and they both really understand the colors that I love and use,” Benz told us of his sunny, Day-Glo palette. “They’ll just wear my sparkly dresses with flats.”

That fits the designer’s evolving maxi-meets-mini approach. Resort, he said, is “a more minimal approach to elegance and refinement.” Next week, he’s back in the studio for sample-making, but he’s got one more warm-weather stop before heading home. Instead of walking the red carpet at Monday’s Met Ball, Benz will be sitting on a panel called “Fashion in 360 Degrees: Building a Fashion Label” at the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Photo: Sean F. Zanni

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