Photography by William Ross

Chris Benz

Creative Director, Bill Blass

| Bed-Stuy

Today, when most of us think of American sportswear, names like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein quickly spring to mind, but before there were either, there was Bill Blass. The first American designer to define true, modern style, Blass was a visionary who treated fashion as a lifestyle, rather than a wardrobe. When it came time, then, for the storied fashion house’s relaunch, who better to take the reigns than a contemporary fashion pundit with serious design chops (think posts at Marc Jacobs, J. Crew and his own eponymous collection) and a major social media following (164k Twitter followers and counting)? Of course we’re talking about Mr. Chris Benz, a style fixture known for his eccentric designs, television appearances— Bravo’s The Fashion Show, HBO’s How to Make it in America— and from time-to-time highlighter pink hair. He’s been featured in top glossies like Vogue and ELLE, collaborated with beauty brands and toy companies (he created a capsule outfit for ultimate fashion gal Barbie) and regularly shares his hilarious comings and goings via Twitter and Instagram. Here, he sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal his little black book on NYC.

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: I love Saraghina (MAP IT, x) and Speedy Romeo (MAP IT, x). At Speedy Romeo, the burger is especially great— it’s made from the house steak tartare and comes with “extra secret” sauce.

COFFEE OR TEA: Coffee at Gorilla Coffee (MAP IT, x). It’s roasted locally and it’s delicious!

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: The Odeon (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x). The frisée salad and steak-frites are my go-to’s.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: A vodka soda at Bemelmans Bar at The Carlyle (MAP IT, x) or my favorite bar, Long Island Bar in Brooklyn Heights (MAP IT, x).

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: The Montauk Club (MAP IT, x).

BUSINESS LUNCH: The Polo Bar (MAP IT, BOOK ITx).

MUSIC PICK: I like to listen to everything; Village Vanguard (MAP IT, x) plays great music.

BEST BRUNCH: Berg’n (MAP IT, x). It’s easy, casual and chic— the ultimate nouveau Brooklyn spot.

HEALTHY STAPLE: Juice Press (MAP IT, x) for the “Love Me” juice (kale, spinach, green apple and lemonand avocado toast.

GUILTY PLEASURE: Pasta bolognese at Sant Ambroeus (MAP IT, BOOK IT, x).

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: Bagels.

REGULAR AT: Almost every night, I eat at Saraghina. If you order off the daily menu, there is nothing more fresh or delicious!

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: Alice’s Arbor (MAP IT, x) is divine for a romantic dinner— cozy in the winter, but just as perfect on hot summer nights.

DELIVERY GO-TO: Rocco’s Pizza (MAP IT, x).

TO SEE AND BE SEEN: Sant Ambroeus in the West Village.

TO RELAX AND UNWIND: My backyard.

CLOSET CHECK: My style is disheveled wasp. I shop almost entirely on eBay, but sometimes, I will find treasures on my travels abroad.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: I like a moody mix. I shop for furniture at the Brooklyn Flea (MAP IT, x) and at the NY Design Center (MAP IT, x). I own a lot of ’70’s Milo Baughman pieces which look terrific in a 19th century townhouse.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: I always gift vintage linen cocktail napkins (bonus if you can find ones with the hostess’ initial on them!). I snatch them up whenever I come across them!

GROOMING BLACK BOOK: Michael Matula (x) at Mudhoney Hair Salon (MAP IT, x).

FIT PICK: My routine consists of two things: a Blueprint cleanse and class with Matthew Lombardo (x) at Jivamukti Yoga (MAP IT, x).

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: Witnessing Larry David mistaking Lips (a drag restaurant) for The Waverly Inn. CP

Chris’s New York

From L to R: First Row: Inside Alice’s Harbor; Gorilla coffee; Benz’s pet boxer; Burger at Long Island Bar. Second Row: Seasonal plate at Saraghina; Inside Village Vanguard; Pizza from Speedy Romeo; Inside Berg’n.

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