Chris Benz Is J.Crew’s New Head Of Women’s Design

Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images.
Since Jenna Lyons left J.Crew in 2017, the retailer has seen a revolving door of executives entering and swiftly leaving its C-suite. Post-Lyons, the brand sorely needs a turnaround to bolster and maintain its position in the retail space.
Well, J.Crew may have just taken a step in the direction, adding a new designer to its roster that signals a return to its roots.
On Tuesday, Business of Fashion announced that the brand has tapped Chris Benz to lead the design teams for both womenswear and Crewcuts, the children's brand. The company is still looking to add a chief executive, so Benz will report to the leadership team in the CEO's office in the interim. The current head of men's design, Dan Winkworth, will also report to the leadership team.
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Benz joins J.Crew from Bill Blass, where he was the creative directer since 2015. The move to J.Crew is a full-circle moment for Benz: It was his first job after graduating from Parsons School of Design, and he designed under then-creative-directer Jenna Lyons for a year beginning in 2005. He would leave and launch his own namesake line in 2006, which he closed in 2012.
“J.Crew is where I started my career and I have always loved the inspired mix of things – colour and pattern, texture and quality – that defines it,” Benz tells BoF in a statement. “I look forward to innovating on the brand’s essential classics to create an eclectic American style that is both polished and unique, and revives J.Crew as a destination where everyone can find something special.”
“We are thrilled to welcome Chris back,” chief administrative officer Lynda Markoe tells BoF. “His creative aesthetic and refined perspective on the brand is the perfect complement to the heritage of J.Crew and will allow him to evolve our women’s collection in a way that is authentic and relevant.”
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