Chris Benz Looks to Haunted Old Houses, East End Art Colonies for Spring

This season, Chris Benz sought to capture the "tantalizing but scary" energy of an old abandoned house.

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Catherine Blair Pfander
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Best known for splashy prints and nostalgic design references, Chris Benz' colorful collections are always highlights of New York Fashion Week. We caught up with the designer at his Garment District studio for a sneak peek at what he has in store for Spring '13.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
This season, Benz found inspiration in haunted houses and Long Island artist colonies. "It's this feeling of push-pull between prettiness and spookiness," he told us. "I spent the whole summer looking these old houses in Brooklyn, and going to open houses, and spending time in empty, old buildings with this weird energy. I wanted to tap into the feeling you get when you're in an old house—it's tantalizing, but also scary and charged with energy. " Here, a glimpse at Benz Spring '13 mood board, bursting with color and mixed-up prints.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
"I also thought a lot about farm houses, and that '60s artist-colony vibe in the Hamptons," Benz told us. "Like Lee Krasner, for example, and all these artists out in the dry grass alone with their thoughts and the spirits." Here, a snap of an elaborate interior juxtaposed against dusty floral prints.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
Benz consistently delivers knockout, statement-making prints that every editor wants in her closet, and next season will be no exception. "It's mostly florals, and some are quite garish actually, like a red and yellow carnation print that you could imagine in an old house, like really bright artificial flowers just left over in the midst of pastels and dusty colors." Here, a "dusty" floral embroidery in mint, pale pink and olive.
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