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April 21 2014

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25 posts tagged "Chris Benz"

Required Reading: Parsons The New School for Design Releases Its First Book

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Mazdack Rassi, Simon CollinsNostalgic Parsons designers rubbed elbows among alumni old and new at Milk Studios last night in celebration of the design school’s first book. One would think that all those featured in The School of Fashion: 30 Parsons Designers were star pupils, but Anna Sui wasn’t one of them. Inside the crowded room, the designer confessed to her less-than-scholarly ways. “Being 18 and living in New York City with no parental guidance, I wasn’t a good student,” confessed Sui. But it was a fun time, she admitted.

Working her way around the room, Behnaz Sarafpour correctly named all of the designers whose sketches hung along the walls—including her own, drawn on a cocktail napkin. Sarafpour later reunited with fellow alum Reed Krakoff who, like her, once interned with Narciso Rodriguez. The two stood in front of a wall of black-and-white portraits opposite Proust questionnaires that asked designers Alexander Wang, Derek Lam, and Jason Wu the following: “What fictional character do you most identify with?” and “Who are your heroes in real life?” For Chris Benz, who was in attendance, the answers included Tom Sawyer and Martha Stewart, respectively.

“When I realized there hadn’t been a book written, I figured it’d be crazy not to,” said Simon Collins, the school’s dean of fashion, who hosted the event along with Milk’s Mazdack Rassi. The new tome includes thirty designer-dedicated chapters with a host of vibrant illustrations, photographs, and introspective quotes taken from exclusive interviews conducted over the past year. Part of the proceeds from sales will benefit scholarships for Parsons students.

While upping the school’s fashion cred ranks high on Collins’ to-do list, the dean was quick to boast that crafting the book was good for all involved. “I mean, the designers loved it,” offered Collins. “They can show their mums.”

The School of Fashion: 30 Parsons Designers is published by Assouline. Available at select bookstores or online at assouline.com.

Photo: Lola Haze/BFAnyc.comĀ 

Designers Celebrate Christmas In July With eBay

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“I’m a total eBay-phile,” said Chris Benz (pictured) at last night’s midtown cocktail party to fête the behemoth retailer’s latest buzzy collaboration, the eBay Holiday Collective. Benz, along with Billy Reid, Jonathan Adler, Steven Alan, Fallon’s Dana Lorenz, Ruffian’s Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, and Tibi’s Amy Smilovic, were on hand to present their limited-edition capsule collections for the megabrand, which ranges from silk twill pajamas to canvas travel accessories. “I wanted to give the eBay customer a real sense of what I do,” said Lorenz, who used crystals and gold-plated pyramids to recreate her signature chunky necklaces. “It’s a punk-princess look.”

Although the seven designers turned out to tout their own lines, each admitted to routinely trolling the site for vintage duds and mid-century finds. “I have a serious paint-by-numbers collection,” revealed Wolk, whose Spring 2009 print was informed by the kitschy tableaux of the forties and fifties. Some even scour the site for transportation vehicles. (Reid recently acquired a 24-foot pontoon boat from the e-tailer, which he docks at his Florence, Alabama, home.)

“I went through a serious eBay addiction, so I’m happy to get a few shekels back,” quipped Adler, who created silver studded frames for the collection. The interior design magnate’s tip to scoring big online? “Misspelling. If you’re in the market for Bulgari, spell it with a ‘v.’ It’s amazing what you’ll find.” The Holiday Collective, which ranges from $50 to $100, will be available on eBay starting November 12.

Photo: Billy Farrell / BFAnyc.com

Call His Name: Alejandro

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“It’s my first real presentation, outside of my showroom, so I wanted to keep it really simple and precise,” shoe designer and fourth-generation cobbler Alejandro Ingelmo said at his Milk Studios presentation. “For me, less is more.” Not necessarily what you’d expect to hear from someone whose client roster includes Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, and Britney Spears. (For those maximalists, at least, he obliged with the occasional Swarovski Elements-crystal embellishment.)

Nor was Ingelmo’s simple really all that simple. He showed towering leather platform sandals and sharply angled ankle boots in black, nude, silver, and gold—not exactly hop-on-the-subway fare. But he’s conscious of comfort; he’s a runner himself and often spotted in New Balances when he’s not wearing his own leather high-tops—so he’s done thick-strap flat sandals, too.

You’ll have to wait for spring to snatch up the new version of his best-selling Thriller, a gravity-defying platform that’s a blend of sexy straps and futuristic metallic leather. If you need to get your Ingelmo fix now, you can check out the Helmut Lang and Chris Benz Spring shows, both of which feature AI collabs. Or you can just head down to his recently opened boutique on Wooster in Soho.

Photo: Courtesy of Alejandro Ingelmo

Designers On Holiday

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Light the barbecue, slice the watermelons, and get out your obligatory patriotic T-shirt. Fourth of July is fast approaching this weekend and summer is finally in full swing. Now that Resort appointments are (almost) over, designers, too, can finally kick back and breathe easy. (At least for a few minutes—another fashion week is just around the corner.) Here, Style.com checks in with some of our favorite designers to see what they are indulging in this summer.

“My greatest summer indulgence is doing a summer house with my closest group of friends—it’s so worth it. Fun, dinner, stories, sharing ideas and goals, celebrating success, and picking each other up through failures, with my groups of friends whom I have known for more than 12 years, is amazing.” —Prabal Gurung

“I wish I had more time to read; I have a long list of suggestions that my friends have given me—right now I’m actually reading an architecture book. But when I’m off duty, I want to be on a beach somewhere with my family. ” —Maria Cornejo

“In the summer, I look forward to spending the days in my garden in the country, my chickens, my fish, the afternoon swim, and the evenings with friends—especially over an elaborate meal that I cook with bottles of chilled rosé. The undiluted natural beauty of the Columbia County countryside, the smell of the plants, blossoms, and shrubs, they all recharge me.” —Bibhu Mohapatra

“I just like to be outside. I skateboard a lot and I love to surf—I usually short board these days. ” —Yigal Azrouël (left)

“Reading my Kindle on the beach—there is nothing more relaxing then a good book with the sand between your toes. I’m spending this Fourth of July at my Shelter Island home. I love hosting a barbecue and watching the fireworks with my closest family and friends. It makes me feel like an American via New Zealand!” —Rebecca Taylor

“Lately, I have really been obsessed with playing Scrabble. It sounds so nerdy, but my boyfriend and I play Scrabble at sunset on my rooftop and have cocktails. I would say that’s a very indulgent summer evening.” —Erin Fetherston

“I’m going to the Turks and Caicos this summer. Usually, we go to Europe but I’m so busy right now we decided this would be the easiest. I have never been to the Caribbean so this should be fun. I usually travel with a giant stack of magazines but I got a BlackBerry Playbook, so this will keep things a little more efficient.” —Chris Benz

“Long bike rides, Magnum ice cream bars, and tanning! I use Maui Babe and it makes the perfect tan.” —Rebecca Minkoff

Photo: Neil Rasmus / BFAnyc.com

Olfactory Verve

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In a way, it was their sense of smell that brought Christiane Amanpour, Thom Browne, Derek Lam, and WSJ.‘s Deborah Needleman together last night. British fragrance house Jo Malone organized an intimate dinner party at Peels for fans of the brand that turned out to be a stimulating potpourri of editors, thread-makers, and interior designers—the sort of affair that had J. Crew’s Jenna Lyons sitting next to Malcolm Gladwell.

The upstairs room at Taavo Somer’s new East Village outpost didn’t smell like anything in particular. If it were Chris Benz’s studio, we learned, there would have been strong notes of mint and basil. “I have millions of scented candles,” the designer explained, “and I drive people crazy because I’m always like, ‘why aren’t the candles lit?’” Philip Crangi did him one better: “I have patchouli and sandalwood from this one incense factory in India that’s been making incense for, like, 800 years,” he said.

Just before tucking into his swordfish steak, Jonathan Adler (pictured, center, with Philip Crangi and Simon Doonan) mentioned that he’d written the bulk of his two upcoming books in rooms redolent of fresh tomato. The home-design maestro knows whereof he speaks, of course. “I’m a purveyor, and a member of the decorative fragrance community. We’re a very private community,” Adler deadpanned. “We gather and sniff.”

Photo: Mimi Ritzen Crawford / Courtesy of Jo Malone