the designer on sheer dresses, double denim, and getting to the beach in 2013.

by rebecca willa davis

Chris Benz has long been our favorite young designer when we're on the hunt for bright--but-wearable--closet standouts. So when his pieces get even more accessible, it's hard not to become really, really excited. Like with his partnership with eBay or, starting this month, his collaboration with Anthropologie. As the latest designer to come up with a mini-collection for the boho retailer, via the Made In Kind series, you can get your hands on one of his ruffled skirts or halter dresses for under $350. "It's sort of a natural progression because our customer and I love color and American sportswear so much, and I feel that's so much what Anthropologie stands for," says the pink-haired, New York-based designer. Though it's hitting stores now, don't think of it as exclusively winter wear: "It's bright colors, it's super wearable, everything we made to be able to brighten up your wardrobe a little bit through the holidays, and to continue [wearing] into spring. Or, if you're traveling, to roll it up and put it in your bag." Benz would know a thing or two about that--he's just returned from a trip to Beijing, and is obsessed with getting to a beech destination sometime in 2013. And that's not all; since we love just about everything he does, we thought it was only fair to ask Benz what he's been loving. Here are a few of his recent obsessions:


I was just in Beijing--that was my first time in China--launching eBay China. It was [culture shock]! i mean, it was 14 degrees, but we did go to Tiananmen Square and went to the flag raising in the freezing, freezing cold. Everything in Beijing, particularly for me, felt very dramatic because they have so much space; they have the biggest buildings, the biggest billboards, thousands and thousands of people everywhere. But it was very cool.


It's a really hard thing to find a casual long skirt that you can dress up--especially for the holidays, i love that you can just put a T-shirt with a long skirt and a big sparkly necklace, it's a new way of holiday dressing. i would love [my Rhoda skirt] with a a little flat sandal with leggings.


I'm really into Instagram! i have hundreds of photo apps on my phone, and i use some apps for some things and some apps for other things and go deep into post-production [laughs]. i just like to layer a lot of filters. I never took a photography class or anything, but i think ti's so interesting to literally in the palm of your hands to be able to make an image look as special and perfect as possible. For met hat's something really cool to play around with, so I'm really into Instagram.


I'm really into denim right now. i've been wearing a lot of Texas tuxedos! Which i feel like also for the holidays is kind of funny.


I've been working my way through all of the Truman Capote books, for whatever reason. I'm on The Grass Harp [right now]--it's good! They're all these Southern gothic, slightly allegorical stories that are really cool.


We [at Chris Benz] are into a lot of sheer dresses. Just the idea of wearing jeans and a T-shirt and cutting the lining out of your lace dress and just wearing that as an over-thing.


I'm landlocked now until Fashion Week in February, obviously. [But] I'm really going to try and take a vacation in 2013, which i haven't done in, like, two years. It's just been workings straight through! i just want a beach vacation [laughs]--just lie out on a beach!

Shop Chris Benz's Made In Kind collection for Anthropologie here!