Photo courtesy Chris Benz
Clothing designer Chris Benz's latest collection is inspired by architectural decay, but the vacation homes featured at the eighth annual Treasures in Paradise auction and fashion show will be far from Grey Gardens.
On Nov. 9, the Science Museum of Virginia will host a fashion show and luxury vacation-package auction in support of the World Pediatric Project — a Richmond-based surgical, diagnostic and preventive care organization that sends medical teams to developing countries. Since its inception in 2001, WPP has treated more than 10,000 pediatric patients in the Caribbean and Central America.
Last year's event raised about $500,000 that was used to treat about 300 pediatric patients. Benz, a graduate of the Parsons School of Design, has dressed first lady Michelle Obama and designed a pink power suit for a presidential candidate Barbie doll. Here, he will present his Resort 2013 collection. We caught up with Benz for a few questions.
RM: What influenced the looks that will be seen at the fashion show?
CB: The collection echoes our emotional attachment to old houses. The carefree personal style of Lee Krasner and Elaine de Kooning, Jean Stafford and the "Hamptons Bohemia" influenced much of the tone, striking a balance between rumpled menswear detailing and a yearning for softness.
RM: What is your favorite decade in fashion?
CB: The present, of course! My inspiration, however, will vary with each season. I just went home to Bainbridge Island, Wash., to visit with my family and went through all of my grandmother's photo albums of my mother's childhood in the Northwest with her three sisters in the early '60s, so I'm currently particularly fascinated with the styles of that time.
RM: What are the trends for fall and winter this year?
CB: Exaggerated and unexpected proportions seem prevalent this fall.
For more information, call 282-8830 or visit worldpediatricproject.org .