Thursday, February 07, 2008
An Open Letter to Chris Benz
Dear Mr. Benz,
We are at a strange time in fashion where personality seems to have eclipsed talent. Many young designers have earned their merits by logging in hours at Socialista rather than the studio, befriending a celebutante, calling her his muse, and churning out a few duds. Call us old fashioned, but that a designer does not make. Of course Hubert de Givenchy had Audrey Hepburn, Oleg Cassini had Jackie O, but these brilliant men owned talent and innovation beyond comprehension, and the relationships were reciprocal – they were not just one another’s party buddy.
Case in point: yourself. A regular fixture at Rose Bar and Beatrice Inn, the fashion world is abuzz with all things Benz. Even I was convinced when I saw you in a homemade towel turban at Colin Cowie’s party at the Hotel Belvedere in Mykonos; I was a bit star struck as I knew I was in the presence of the next designer du jour. We adored your Mary Tyler Moore 70s-inspired spring collection. It was as if Annie Hall had literally time traveled to present day looking as chic and fresh as ever. Those loose layers, that Technicolor palette, it was perfection.
But after a quick glance at your latest work, I’m afraid all of that ouzo and those flashing bulbs may have seeped through your turban. The clothing you previewed this week was sadly uninspired – as if you rummaged through Screaming Mimi’s and the Antique Boutique (Remember the beloved hand-me-down mecca on Broadway circa 1996?) and called it a day. Placing a gnome’s cap atop a translucent afro’ed model does not a designer make.
Final Word: We know you are talented, which is why we beseech you to reconsider that next invite to Paper’s Most Beautiful People party or whatever pseudo-uber-fete it may be to take time and put more thought into your next collection, we sincerely look forward to it.