After a few seasons-long hiatus from fashion, New York-based designer, Chris Benz, is coming back in a big way: As the creative director of Bill Blass, effective immediately. Blass, which enjoyed its heyday in the 1980's, has not shown a ready-to-wear collection since Fall/Winter 2012, and is looking to Benz to help relaunch the house's womenswear collection. Of Benz's appointment, Bill Blass President and Chief Operating Officer, Stuart M. Goldblatt, said: "The reason Chris is on board is because we wanted a top-flight designer—someone who paralleled [the late] Mr. Blass. The whole idea was to bring in an American designer who understands the woman today and who is highly social just as Mr. Blass was.”
Benz, a Parsons graduate, who launched his eponymous label in 2007, was immediately welcomed by the industry, which took a liking to his signature quirky aesthetic, unexpected use of color and mix-and-match pairing of textiles. Of his debut, Eric Wilson, fashion reporter for The New York Times, referred to Benz as one of fashion’s “newest darlings” and his work as one of "the best examples of the heightened level of sophistication that is expected of new designers today." Benz, 32, will present his first collection for the house during the Spring/Summer 2016 shows.