Referred to as “The Prince of Color,” fashion designer Chris Benz has been making waves in the fashion world since he received the prestigious CFDA scholarship as a student at Parsons School of Design in 2003. Four years later, he launched his first collection during New York Fashion Week, which prompted The New York Times to write Benz “may be the best example of the heightened level of sophistication that is expected of new designers today.”

Chris Benz with IVY’s Co-CEO, Beri Meric.

In the decade since, Benz has only been heightening that level of sophistication. His bold, subversive collection is frequently featured in Vogue, Vanity Fair, Elle, and other media outlets, and Benz himself has made appearances on TV in the likes of HBO’s How To Make It In America and E’s Fashion Police.

In 2014, Benz met with one of his most dynamic projects to date. He was named Creative Director at Bill Blass, the American design house founded in 1970 by the legendary designer, Bill Blass. Benz was brought on as part of the line’s rebranding campaign: he oversaw the iconic American sportswear brand’s transformation into a youthful, exuberant line focused on the modern consumer — and attuned to the changing tides of fashion and the rise of e-commerce.

“With Bill Blass, we don’t even really think of ourselves as a fashion company,” said Benz at an IVY Evening of Fashion in New York City. “We think of ourselves as a digital work around. We launched entirely with e-commerce…. It’s given us a lot of autonomy in terms of merchandising, creative product, and that we’ve been able to harness all the latest technology and take that to a kind of old-fashioned business like fashion.”

“So much of the collection is about a funny take on Americana,” said Chris Benz.

IVY members had the chance to meet Benz one-on-one during the Evening of Fashion, which featured a private showroom tour during the label’s re-opening in March, 2016. Fashion blogger Dara Senders, who runs The Style Senders, caught the attached video footage of the clothing line and of Benz explaining the changing nature of fashion to IVY’s Co-CEO, Beri Meric.

For more information, please visit IVY’s Emerging Designer Program online or consider attending an upcoming live event with IVY.

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