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Chris Benz on Why He Took a Break from His Namesake Label

Chris Benz

Image: courtesy Fashionista

Chris Benz is at the start of a new chapter in his career and we can’t wait to see what he does. The designer took some time off from his eponymous label in 2013, but now he’s back, this time at the helm of Bill Blass, which hasn’t shown a collection since 2012. There has been a lot of mystery around Benz’s hiatus from his own brand, which the designer cleared up yesterday during Fashionista’s meetup at Space 530

“In some ways, we told all the stories for that girl and when we started, that girl was very of that minute,” he said. “We sort of shifted gears aesthetically in the world. At that time, everything was black, so when we did color it was like, ‘Oh, that was a colorful jewel of a collection.’ As we wound everything up, it was Rick Owens, Alex Wang. The aesthetic [of the time] didn’t support what the aesthetic of the brand was.” 

It also seems Benz was plagued by the general fatigue that comes with the rigors of having to constantly produce so many new collections. “The hardest part for me was having to churn out hundreds of new products every four months, literally from scratch. Because that’s what designer fashion is. You have to come up with four great ideas plus a hundred more every four months.” It is a reason many designers cite for repositioning their brands, or ditching them altogether. Viktor & Rolf recently stepped away from ready-to-wear, calling the process of creating so many collections “creatively restricting.” John Galliano has also mentioned that the stressful schedule was part of the reason why his drug and alcohol abuse got so out of control.  

Benz quietly took a break and he is very pleased with the way he handled what could have been a media frenzy. “I think I did great in winding down my collection,” he said with the kind of charming satisfaction we come to expect from him. “I did not do one interview, I did not do one story, I didn’t make it into a thing. Fashion loves a headline, they love to build people up and then tear them down.”

We expect a lot more building up in Benz’s future once his work for Bill Blass hits stores this fall.