Chris Benz claims that whenever he rummages through the extensive archives at Bill Blass he can almost hear the late designer’s gravelly voice: Get out of that mausoleum—you’re supposed to be coming up with new things! And, indeed, Benz is. After several years in limbo while the company’s new owner, Peacock Apparel Group, took stock of its numerous licenses, Bill Blass is back in business. And as the creative director, Benz has, along with his team, almost completely reimagined the American sportswear label. When it relaunches this month, all manner of colorful, carefree pieces—washed-linen blazers, silk charmeuse day dresses, stacked-heel loafers—will be available on the Blass website, and fresh capsule collections will be introduced continually. “It’s a forward-thinking strategy that fits the brand,” says Benz, who stopped producing his eponymous line in 2013. “Everything we make is fulfilling a need for the customer, which was always Blass’s approach.” And despite the imagined admonishments, Benz has reprised some Blass signatures. The revamped logo comes from the late designer’s personal stationery, and the red lipstick worn by all the models was his preferred beauty look. “We’ve teased out a few things,” says Benz, who wishes one item in particular were up for the taking. “It’s too bad his Sutton Place apartment isn’t still around.”
Hair By Tamas Tuzes for Bumble and Bumble at L’Atelier NYC; Makeup by Junko Kioka for Chanel at Joe Management; model: Lou Schoof at New York Model Management; photography assistant: Jonathan Rios; fashion assistant: Lucas Dawson.