Designer Dossier

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Design Star Jan 2015 Also on Digital Edition

‘Project Runway’s’ Benjamin Mach. Designer Benjamin Mach, as seen on “Project Runway All Stars” season 4, splits his time between South Florida and New York City while developing his international clothing brand. The Australian designer chats with us about reality TV, the Benjamin Mach woman and his spring/summer collection.

Q: Who are your influences?

A: I love Madeleine Vionnet. I love the architecture of her work. I also like Halston [the original brand]. [The clothes are] modern, chic, effortless.

Q: What was your thought process when designing the spring/summer collection?

A: The whole collection, I came up with it in three weeks. I had to hit the ground running. The idea with the collection is to mix and match. You shouldn’t wear head-to-toe one designer. I like to design pieces that could make sense with other pieces.

Q: What is the essence of the Benjamin Mach brand?

A: I make things look elegant, with a bit of an edge, but also comfortable. You look best when you’re comfortable. The fit is pretty easy, like the drawstring pants or the jersey dress. You can have any body shape and it will look great. There’s an intelligence to the design. There may be a low-cut neckline or lace in a suggestive area ... I like to take the natural features of a woman’s body and work with that.

Q: How would you describe your experience on “Project Runway” season 11?

A: The first time, I tried for season 8. I didn’t make it into the invitations. I applied a few years later and within 20 minutes, I got a call back from LA. I flew to LA, and it was total shellshock. You have one day for challenges. It’s one day but you have eight or nine hours to come up with an idea and to create it. I had some successes, but also had some major failures.

Q: How did that affect your experience on “All Stars?”

A: I was more comfortable with cameras being around. I wasn’t taken by surprise because I didn’t have distractions. My work shines through a lot more.

Q: Who is your customer?

A: My designs fit the New York, Palm Beach woman. She’s busy running a business and doing charitable ventures. She’s a mom. She’s a real woman. She is someone with natural grace. My wish list is to dress Marion Cotillard. She’s a Benjamin Mach woman. There’s a glint in her eye. And Julianne Moore. There’s something natural about both of them.

Q: What does style mean to you?

A: Style isn’t something that you buy. It’s inherent within you. Everyone has style but it’s different. It’s not so much the clothes, but how you wear them.