(Courtesy of Laila Bahman/BFAnyc.com)
Last night, we stopped by Anthropologie to get a first look at the store's Made in Kind holiday collaboration with Chris Benz. The clothes were very bright, and very reflective of the pink-haired designer's signature look, and after seeing three different girls try on his lime green maxi dress (and all look amazing) we're convinced that maybe it isn't such a tough color to pull off.
We headed to the racks to handle some of Benz's more voluminous dresses to see just how ruffly they are (verdict: very ruffly!), before cornering the designer to ask him the important questions. Like, what are some of the biggest challenges facing young designers these days? And, if the Mayans were right, and the world is going to end next Friday...what are you going to wear?
StyleBistro: Congratulations on your Anthropologie collection! Can you tell us about your inspiration? Who do you see wearing these clothes?
Chris Benz: I think there's a lot of crossover between the Chris Benz girl and the Anthropologie girl. They both love color and layering and great American sportswear. For our collaboration, I really wanted to create these great, fresh, basic pieces that the customer could really build on. Whether it's a bright, long skirt that she can wear a tee-shirt, and a statement necklace, and a cardigan with, there are little key pieces to reinvigorate your closet as you're getting ready to go to holiday parties.
StyleBistro: Do you have a favorite piece?
Chris Benz: I love the shirtdress moment. It's a shape that we've done a few times in my own collection. We did it in this really pretty nude and coral with that bright belt. I love the versatility. You can change out the belt, or wear the belt as a scarf if you want to.
(Courtesy of Anthropologie)
StyleBistro: Your last collection was all about layers. What would you put with that shirt dress to make it even more Chris Benz?
Chris Benz: I always like a bright blazer. I like the idea of putting a printed tight with it, and a heel. Maybe an oversize cardigan in a clashing color.
StyleBistro: Okay, so if the Mayans were right, and the world really is ending next Friday...what are you going to wear?
Chris Benz: I would probably wear my navy blue blazer, which I am not wearing today but I usually wear, and a comfortable shoe in case I had to run someplace and seek shelter. Girls should wear flats on that day. Maybe like a Yankees hat?
StyleBistro: Why the Yankees hat?
Chris Benz: It's one of my go-tos.
StyleBistro: You're in denim on denim today!
Chris Benz: I've been really into it recently. It just seems very casual for the holidays. I like to dress down for the holidays. It just seems like everyone is so stressed out. The same goes for girls. Find some casual way to go to a party rather than getting too gussied up.
StyleBistro: How do you strike that balance?
Chris Benz: I love a casual long skirt with your favorite tee-shirt and a big necklace or some sparkly earrings.
StyleBistro: You've been really successful, at a really young age. But has anything surprised you, as a young designer? Were there any unexpected challenges?
Chris Benz: Besides the amount of work that you have to do every day, people really underestimate the speed with which fashion does travel. For me, going in every day, there's always another fabric appointment, another sales appointment. It's all constantly going. There's very little time to sit back and enjoy it.
StyleBistro: How do you deal with that?
Chris Benz: We're already starting on Resort '14. You really just have to be decisive. That's the only way to stay on schedule as much as possible. You have to be able to figure out exactly what you want to do and what you like. You have to be able to choose between two options without thinking about it too much.
StyleBistro: When you were starting out did you have trouble with that?
Chris Benz: No, I always knew.
So that's how he got to dress Barbie and Michelle Obama!