As reported Monday in WWD, Chris Benz has repositioned his brand at the advanced contemporary level for spring. Whatever fabrication adjustments that entailed were invisible to the naked eye at his presentation, where the clothes retained all the quirky energy and inventive mix of color and texture that Benz has been cultivating since the start. “I wanted to narrow it to a combination of scary and pretty,” he said, adding that the recent Internet obsession with the “zombie apocalypse” was a key influence. He translated that into looks that were layered to the nines: a floral blazer worn over a sheer slipdress slit up the sides, over a poplin skirt, over a pair of gold jeans (CB Denim).

The total effect was a creative fusion of the current obsession with bold color and feminine grunge. If the styling skewed extreme, the look will be just as compelling when pulled apart. There were pretty, vintage-y, floral fil-coupe slipdresses cut on the bias and Lurex-striped layering pieces. Repositioning is a smart move for Benz. Contemporary is no less crowded than the designer grid, but it could use a few more original voices like his.

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