Sometimes in interviews I'm asked who, as a fashion designer, I find the most inspiring from today's crop of twenty- and thirty-something designers. I almost always say Chris Benz. He somehow manages to find a way to marry casual tomboy with eccentric, vintage glamour, and his use of color (usually bold) is thrilling to me.
When I saw his fall 2011 collection from New York Fashion week this spring, I was surprised. He chose much more muted, neutral tones for his designs than in past collections, alongside pieces in (gasp!) plain old black, but with pops of color and pattern. And although I'm a huge fan of his trademark vibrant color selections, these looks captured his muse - Savannah, Georgia - perfectly. As a recent addition to Georgia's SCAD art school's mentorship program, he'd been spending lots of time in the area, and felt inspired by his surroundings: "Savannah is such a strange place, caught between Southern decorum and the influx of art school kids," he said at his NYFW presentation. "It's quite a collision."
The collection will be available to the public in just a few weeks.
Do you have a particular designer who inspires you, or is there one fall collection you're most looking forward to?