Chris Benns

You may have spotted him on Professor Green: Unseen on Channel 4 last winter but Chris Benns’ style expertise stretches so much further than Professor Green. After leaving the Italian fashion school, Insituto Marangoni, in 2006, Chris went on to work alongside already established stylists which lead to his big break – UK stylist to the Scissor Sisters. He worked alongside their US creative team, headed by Zaldy Goco, at events such as the BRIT Awards and on their UK PR shoots which lead him to break into editorial work. I spoke to Chris about some of his celebrity clients, who he’d most like to dress and he offers advice to any wannabe stylists..

Saving Grace 12 years ago

So…How did you get in to styling and fashion?

I actually wanted to be a product designer at first and did a BA in that before realizing my heart was in fashion. From then I studied the subject first a college before briefly studying design at uni.Once leaving university I networked as much as possible to make the right connections that I needed; I began to assist various experienced stylists and fashion creatives and learnt on the job. Then after a couple of years of this I pushed to become a stylist in my own right.

What inspired you whilst growing up – who were your fashion idols as a child and are they the same now?

As mentioned, I chose a career in fashion in my late teens early twenties after studying other subjects so I didn’t really have any fashion idols as such growing up. The nearest I got was religiously watching, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air to check out what trainers Will Smith had on, which then lead me to start my own Nike trainer collection.

How did it feel landing your first major project with the Scissor Sisters, styling them at the BRITS, was the pressure on?

Stressful, a lot of their stuff was made for them by their main stylist Zaldy Goco but it was the first time I had worked on red carpet styling before. With five people in the band at the time it was pretty hard work and I remember sitting on the living room floor at my mums house sewing a dress. Not only that but I remember working with luxury jewellry brand Bvlgari for Anna’s red carpet look which was so expensive a security guy arrived with the pieces put it on her at the hotel and then met her at the end of the red carpet to take them back from her. Not that she wasn’t trust worthy, obviously, but they were just worth so much.

Who have been some of your favorite celebrity clients?

It’s always a pleasure working with various celebrity clients and I wouldn’t say I had a favorite. I would say though, that the celebrity project that I most enjoyed was working on the Tommy Hilfiger sessions. A lot of people don’t realise it but Hilfiger as a brand have a strong musical background and to be asked to style the acts involved and just to work along side such a brand was an honor.

If you could get your mitts one celebrity to style, who would you transform and how?

If I could get my hands on any celebrity to style it would have to be Keith Richards. He’s not badly dressed by any means and I would keep a lot of Keith’s personal style within what I was doing but I love the concept of having him extremely dapper but then with his own trade mark rings and head scarf. Plus for me If I’m shooting an editorial for a publication, I very rarely use ‘pretty’ male models but instead boys with hard faces and some personality; Keith’s face can definitely tell a story (some of which I’d love to hear)

Have you had to work with any celebrity divas in the past/tricky customers?

No comment

Who’s the world’s stylish person at present?

For me the best dressed has to Nick Wooster; a man that I am yet to see a bad image of. His personal wardrobe must be huge and I’m pretty envious of it, in all honesty. He is quite dapper and similar to my own personal style and a highly respected fashion insider.

…and the worst dressed?

I heard that Savvy from Saving Grace Music is pretty badly dressed..

What are you plans for the future – particularly the rest of this year?

The future (if all goes to plan) is pretty busy. I am currently in the process of taking on three new musicians to style as well as various editorial shoots for different publications. It’s really nice to work with an artist from the point of their first commercial release as their music is bound to develop as will their personal sense of style and both will progress organically as they get bigger and it’s great to be involved with.

If you could have dinner with anybody (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

If I could have dinner with anyone it would be Mr Frank Sinatra. Not only did he have an impeccable sense of style but I’d just like to have a chat about a couple of things. What really happened with Marilyn Monroe? How affiliated was he with the Mafia…well this is all dependent on if he would talk..

And finally, do you have any advise for anyone who would like to get in to styling as a career?

It’s hard work, there are a million and one so called “stylists” our there but very few actually work. It’s about hard work and commitment like most things. Be prepared to work long hours for no money to make the contacts and get experience required. Your best route in is to assist first of all and then when the time is right go it alone, but most importantly be polite.


Where to find Chris:

Twitter: @chrisbenns


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