Ask Christian Benner what his artistic process is, and he’ll look at you in mild disgust. “People are always asking me, ‘what inspires your work, what inspires you?’ and I’m always just like, nothing,” Benner says. “It’s like a therapy for me. I started doing this do get through a point in my life.”
You’ve probably heard Benner’s name through the countless celebrities he’s dressed — names like Lady Gaga, Axl Rose, and Kate Moss — but the budding young designer wasn’t always so successful. There was once a time when his life revolved around his corporate retail visuals job with lingerie giant, Victoria’s Secret, and his rampant drug and alcohol addiction. On Saturday, February 11, Benner will be showing his first presentation at New York Fashion Week, and with it he’s promised to make it a night you will never forget.
“I’ve had runway shows, and they were like whatever, but I mean this is it. This is the one,” Benner said with a hint of both nerves and excitement when we stopped by his studio this past week to take a peek at the new line. A capsule collection of 13 leather jackets designed entirely by Benner, the new line tells his personal journey from addiction to sobriety.
Inspired by the late ‘70s/early ‘80s punk movement, Benner’s work is incredibly reminiscent of famed brands like Saint Laurent and The Kooples — always making a nod to his continual love affair with rock and roll. Lyrics, painted on text, and shearling so soft, slipping an arm into it will give you goosebumps, the jackets have been a labor of love. “I needed to put myself in a market where I saw myself. So I saw myself — here’s Saint Laurent, I’m right here,” Benner explains, motioning a step below. “So I spent six months picking out stuff and designing. I’m talking zippers, buttons, fucking stitching. These are my actual patterns. Every single detail I picked out.”
While the Fall/Winter 2017 collection consists of only leather jackets, Benner does plan on eventually branching out into other areas of fashion. “I wanna master one thing,” he explains.“The best advice I was ever given was by Andy Hilfiger — Tommy’s brother. We almost went into business together. He goes, ‘Listen, start off small. Master one thing. I started off too big and I fucked everything up.’”
Without giving too much away, we can say without a doubt that Benner has struck gold, and you should plan on seeing his work gracing many a celebrity, rock god, and editorial shoot in the coming year.
The Christian Benner show is open to the public, and starts at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday at 63 Gansevoort St, although in order to gain entrance you must RSVP, as limited space is available. If you want to say hi, you can find us drooling in front of the poor, unsuspecting model wearing the black shearling jacket.