LOS ANGELES — A decade after launching C&C California and helping to define the California casual lifestyle, Cheyann Benedict is back with a new line and boutique that reflects her now-grown-up aesthetic.
The 30-stockkeeping-unit Cheyann Benedict line, which makes its debut this month in a 1,400-square-foot La Brea Avenue boutique by the same name, comprises cashmere sweaters, rayon T-shirt dresses, printed silk caftans, raw silk dresses and trousers, and washed-silk charmeuse drawstring pants. There are, of course, basic Ts, meant to be layered, in every color, but this time they’re made from mercerized cotton with a silky sheen and French seams.
Retail prices range from $80 for a T-shirt to $1,500 for a hand-knit cashmere sweater jacket. While some fibers come from Italy and Germany, the pieces are all made in Los Angeles.
“It’s been a journey,” said Benedict of her life since she and partner Claire Stansfield sold C&C to Liz Claiborne Inc., in 2005, for $28 million. “I left [in 2006] because I felt like I had done what I was meant to do there. It’s a really different experience when you have your own company and call your own shots, and being in that [corporate] environment was difficult. I knew there was a different way to express myself.”
On a whim, she traveled to India for four months, where she became inspired by the colors of the saris and the textiles in the marketplaces. A California native whose mother is Cherokee, Benedict decided to move back to New York, where she had studied art at New York University before becoming an actress. She stayed there for almost four years, studying with mentor Hugo Cory, a teacher of esoteric philosophy, who also taught her meditation.
About four years ago, she started consulting with advisers about her next venture. Two years ago, after she drove by an old house for sale and felt an immediate connection with it, she decided to move back to Los Angeles. She spent the next 10 months renovating and designing her home with an “organic-modern-meets-old-lady” look.
Benedict, who has also made furniture for the last 10 years, transferred that vibe to her store, bringing midcentury art and furniture, her own wood tables and benches inlaid with ground turquoise (also for sale) and custom sofas to the freestanding space. Benedict purchased the 2,200-square-foot building, which formerly housed the costume shop Repeat Performance, because it was one of the few freestanding structures on the established retail thoroughfare, also home to American Rag Cie, Stussy, Steven Alan, among other retailers, restaurants and art galleries.
“It was important for me to stay in Hollywood, and this street is classic; there’s not as much turnover. I’m investing in my future and creating a situation to root myself somewhere,” she said, noting that she is the sole owner of her company.
A year ago, she began designing the line and the store in earnest, aiming to create the perfect T-shirt, pants, dress and so on. “I’m drawn to pieces that you can buy over and over, in every color, like the classic C&C T,” she said. “And I still like comfortable, wearable clothes, but this reflects 10 years of growing up.”
The long silk caftan dresses, ranging from $400 to $850, feature her own digitally produced prints and come in a range of bright and neutral solids. Solid raw-silk dresses feature slouchy pockets, subtle draping and deep armholes that slyly expose the sides of the body. Bottoms range from raw-silk wide-leg and cropped cuffed trousers to washed-charmeuse genie, cropped pajama and ankle-tie drawstring styles. There are also basic cashmere sweaters and matching “sweatpants,” along with the Ts and tanks in a range of colors.
Alongside her apparel, Benedict offers leather handbags and belts from Los Angeles designer Samantha Grisdale, woven cotton scarves and woven leather and beaded jewelry from Mexican artisans, and her own extensive collection of vintage Native American jewelry. She also plans to collaborate with Rachel Craven Textiles, as well as artist Sage Vaughn, on prints for new pieces.
Benedict intends to launch an e-commerce site next month and will eventually wholesale her line, but she’s in no hurry. She also declined to project first-year sales. “The essence of my marketing strategy is more organic,” she said.
“What I learned from C&C is that if you choose authenticity over chasing a trend, you have a different kind of confidence. Los Angeles is still the land of opportunity; here you’re more able to catapult things off the ground.”
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)