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Chris Benz: '60s Enthusiasm and Carmen Electra

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Chris Benz discusses the inspirations behind his Spring 2011 collection, and his post-fashion week plans. (Published Monday, Sep 13, 2010)

    Chris Benz's exuberant, colorful, fun-fashion presentations have become a huge draw for fashion folk and celebrities alike, and this season's showing at the Atrium near Lincoln Center brougth quite a draw: J.Crew's Jenna Lyons, Kelly Osbourne, Susan Sarandon, Jessica Szohr, Alison Pill, and, yes, Carmen Electra. (Sidebar: Johnny Weir apparently missed the show because he got stuck at customs. Devastated that we missed that sighting.)

    The main attraction, of course, is Benz's signature fashion-is-still-fun aesthetic -- always featuring flattering shapes, cheery colors, and lots of exquisite details. After last season's sequins and feathered jackets, Spring 2011 was lighter on the excess, but still strong on patterns and lightheartedness.

    As the designer expained, the season's inspiration was "a '60s ex-pat model in Paris," and all the idealism and enthusiasm that goes with it. The music -- '60s pop -- certainly telegraphed the mood, and even the models couldn't help snapping their fingers and singing along.

    This season, Benz played a good deal more with prints, which really paid off in a Peter Som-ish way -- bright florals, painterly blue patterns, and multi-striped separates. The shapes were decidedly feminine, from silky tops to full skirts with cinched waists. All as flattering as it was uplifting (especially on a rainy Monday afternoon).

    Also seriously noteworthy: The Alejandro Ingelmo platforms created in collaboration with Benz. What is it about colorfully printed platforms this season? Shoe fetishists, rejoice, there's much to behold come spring.