Sonia Yoon and Benjamin Channing Clyburn’s exquisite designs are the product of unusual sources of inspiration and pure, raw talent. The two met as students at Parsons The New School for Design, where they collaborated on a senior thesis project before founding Bensoni, a unique label that aesthetically marries uncommon ideas.
“It all started with The Story of O, an erotic novel published in 1954 by French journalist Pauline Réage,” Yoon explains of the current collection’s inspiration. From there, the line was influenced by the music of Serge Gainsbourg and his Yé-Yé girls as well as the concept of a
modern day Lolita.”
In characterizing the Bensoni woman, Yoon muses: “She is a refined and elegant, yet free spirited, jet-setting girl who travels to and fro between Paris and Tokyo as often as she shops at Colette.” The a/w ’09 collection reflects the specificity of this image, while emphasizing the liberating freedom for the wearer of the garments.
The clothing falls somewhere between a Great Gatsby-era New York flapper and a 1970′s LA punk—preppy meets vixen meets minimalism. Elegant cocktail dresses are paired with edgy leather jackets, prim blouses are contradicted by their low-cut allure and the color palette is varied, yet subtly cohesive (dark purple meshes with metallic silver, lime green fits together with stark black). The entire line is tied together by heavily detailed, diverse pattern work that calls to mind bubbling champagne.
Yoon describes such seeming diversity as a combination of “classy French chic with a lady-like elegance, accompanied by jaunting color palettes with a nouvelle vague flare.” After winning the prestigious Samsung Design Fund award in South Korea last year, Bensoni has made its presence known during this past NYFW among editors and top retailers. With the recession in full swing, the beginning of 2009 was slow for many young labels, but Bensoni’s standout a/w ’09-’10 outing is on the fast track to success.