News & Runway

A Chat with Neon-Haired Chris Benz

Chris BenzChris Benz Interview

Lancome has been sponsoring Chris Benz’s fashion shows for several seasons now and given the success of Chris & Tell, a lipstick the two launched in partnership last Spring, it was only fitting that they would team up once again. When I met Benz in the VIP suite on the eight floor of Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City, he told me that a limited edition gift-with-purchase bag was something he’s always wanted to do. He jovially explained that he remembers as a kid going into his mother’s bathroom and seeing a million of “those weird little zippered gift-with-purchase bags” and he knew that he wanted to create something more functional that girls would actually want to carry and use. The result? A limited edition gift-with-purchase sold exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue.

Launched this month, when you spend $60 or more at Saks on Lancome products, you’ll get the Chris-Benz-designed tote filled with a Definicils Precious Cells Mascara or Absolue Hand and you get to choose between two moisturizers. Shoppers also get to choose between a trio of lipstick, Juicy Tube, and blush in either a pink or coral palette. When I asked Benz about the partnership he said it was seamless and that Lancome really “understands the spirit of the brand.” He worked on a sketch, sent it in, and then the size of the tote was decided. Benz knew that the tote would be coming out in June so he says that the sketch was designed with this specific warm month in mind. Sadly, the look pictured on the tote is not for sale and won’t be – if ever – anytime soon. That said, Benz considers the styles pictured on the sketch summertime essentials.

One of the most laid-back designers I’ve ever had the pleasure of speaking with, Benz was sporting a spiked neon pink mane, mismatched (one blue, one yellow) Church shoes, and a Celine tote, but while he’s all about the man bag, Benz doesn’t wear any makeup himself. When I asked about whether he follows trends, he said that he believes in being emotional when it comes to his fashion designing decisions, adding that he has no time to look around to see what others are doing. As for Spring/Summer 2012, Benz is currently scouting locations.

Chris Benz Image: WENN