[Bianca in her studio. Notice the amazing collection of vintage-inspired luggage at the top of the left photo!]
This week I talked with Bianca Benitez, the creator of Dear Creatures. Bianca was featured in our most recent Seen Style post b/c we love her look! She created her first line last fall, and it’s already been worn and applauded by the likes of Zooey Deschanel and Bust Magazine.
Read my interview with Bianca.
ModCloth: Tell us about your personal style.
Bianca: Clean-cut with a mix of vintage and new pieces. Most of the time I’m in jeans, a t-shirt and ballet flats because I spend a lot of time going to factories and working with my sewers; so I don’t get dressed up much. But if I’m going out, I like to wear something with a slight 60s or 70s silhouette that doesn’t look like it came out of a costume shop. I prefer classic pieces over trend forward items, and I also stopped wearing high heels because I’m awful walking in them, and they hurt my feet. So I stick to flats- I live in my black ballet slippers!
MC: I read that you drew inspiration for this season’s line from Valley of the Dolls, Sharon Tate, and Priscilla Presley. Do you plan to continue designing from vintage style icon inspiration?
Bianca: I draw inspiration from a broad range of things from past style icons to mid-century architecture, furniture and design to folk art. My first season, Fall 2008, was inspired by folk artist Alexander Girard (who designed textiles for Herman Miller, a mid-century furniture manufacturer), and Mary Blair who designed the ride “It’s a Small World” in Disneyland in the 1950s. I also did a lot of Scandinavian-folk-art-inspired graphics for t-shirts and the inside lining of dresses and jackets. I love juvenile whimsy that is playful, but also nostalgic. For my second season I played with the idea of Sharon Tate and Priscilla Presley. And this last season I just finished has a 1960s Girl Scouts theme, which I’m really excited about.
MC: How did Dear Creatures get its name?
Bianca: My good friend actually came up with it. I had my friends and family write down lists of names that would compliment my aesthetic. I wanted something that sounded natural and folklore-inspired because I love folk art, but also unisex because eventually I would like to do a men’s line.
MC: We’ve seen Zooey Deschanel wearing a lot of Dear Creatures clothing. Do you know her personally?
Bianca: Yes, we met through a friend of mine who styled Zooey in Dear Creatures for a campaign for Oliver Peoples eyeglasses. Zooey liked the line and came to my work studio and I gave her a bunch of clothes to wear to the Democratic National Convention in Denver. She’s been really supportive of the line, and I really enjoy being able to dress her in Dear Creatures. I think she’s a perfect muse to have.
MC: How did Dear Creatures begin?
Bianca: It began at the end of 2007 when I was working and designing for another company. It was actually my former boss’s idea for me to start my own clothing line. I always thought it was going to be a long-term goal or I would continue to work under other companies. But after talking to friends in the industry, I realized that I had learned so much about the business and I had a strong network behind me, so it was a good time to start.
MC: What’s next for the company?
Bianca: I would love to do Dear Creatures menswear someday, but first I want to get the women’s line solid. I’ve also fantasized about doing a Dear Creatures travel luggage collection in really cool prints, because I collect vintage suitcases.