Before launching his namesake fashion line, Chris Benz worked at the helms of J.Crew and Marc Jacobs. His previous employers appear to be natural mentors when viewing his coquettishly chic collection of wearable womenswear with an affinity for prints and pops of color but Benz brings his own flair for personality and wit to the brand through a ferociously active Twitter account and bright bubblegum pink locks.
We’ve been following your Tweets (@CMBenz) and see you’re in the midst of the BluePrintCleanse liquid diet, how is that going?
I’m on day five and it’s been fine. I’ve done it a few times and the first couple of days you’re just in a different mind space. You’re getting all the nutrients you need so you do feel great. The first time I did it though I could barely get through three days.
Is this your pre-holiday detox?
Post-Thanksgiving, pre-holiday – I’ve had so many friends in town and coming to town so there’s a lot of going out and dinner parties.
What did you do for Thanksgiving?
I hosted and had Thanksgiving at my apartment. I’m cursed with a gigantic dining room table. It’s one of those things where once you do it once, you have to do it again because people know.
Like having a guest room?
Exactly. But I didn’t cook. I ordered everything and it was just as delicious.
You’ll be heading to the area soon for an appearance. Have you been to Boston before?
I’ve been there about three or four times, just short trips, but I love Boston. Conceptually, for me being an American sportswear designer, it’s such an American city. It’s still very young but has that old Americana spirit. The last time I was there was for the [ICA] opening and [it is] a building that seems so modern, like it should be from Denmark or something. I grew up in Seattle, which is a lot like Boston in being such a tiny city with a lot of effort for preservation of the historical architecture, but with Microsoft and new businesses comes severe modern architecture also moving in. I like that feeling of tension in a city.
What will be seeing from you in terms of fashion when you’re here?
I’m showing Resort and previewing Spring . We have a lot of really great knitwear and I think the women of Boston understand layering better than anyone else. They’re not afraid to have that preppy moment where blouses are layered under sweaters that other climates and cities are apprehensive of. I’m excited to play with layering and mixing colors and updating the classic American sportswear for these women.
What would you like to see women wearing this holiday season to their cocktail parties and events?
I think a lot of people are feeling nostalgia for the old Hollywood holiday parties. A cocktail suit is something we haven’t seen in a while as opposed to the same old little black dress. You can make a little black tuxedo look so chic [as] opposed to the expected.
You were one of the first designers to really embrace social media and become an active Twitter user, and now we’ve noticed another identify, @CHRISBENZgirl, has popped up. Is she affiliated with you or is she just a fan?
She is! She’s Susie Mascotte, our social secretary – yes, that’s her actual title -- who is really representative of the spirit of the brand. She’s smart and funny and we do the Twitter account together. We wanted to represent the woman that we design for, and post things that are overheard in the studio and on the streets of New York.
Do you have any holiday wishes this season?
I just hope everyone can come to a close of a year that I think was difficult for everyone in some way or another. My wish is that 2012 can be brighter and better than 2011.
The designer will be in town Thurs. Dec. 8 at Gretta Luxe in Wellesley (94 Central St., (781) 237-7010) for a trunk show and guest appearance from noon -7 p.m. The event is open to the public.
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