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Chris Benz on His eBay Collab, Dutch Lamps and Why You Should Watch The Newsroom

Yesterday evening, I made my way through the bustle of midtown Manhattan to preview all the pieces from eBay's collaboration with Chris Benz, Billy Reid, Fallon, Jonathan Adler, Ruffian, Steven Alan and Tibi. Although the weather outside had reached an uncomfortable level of humidity and heat, my destination was a cool air-conditioned oasis, with all-white walls and holiday trimmings.

After delighting in the reindeer statue, ski and fireplace decorations, I began to marvel at gift items themselves. The entire selection—which includes leather tech accessories, silky soft penguin sweatshirts, white pottery ornaments and more—reaches the same high quality of each brands' main line, but costs $100 or less.

When I found myself standing before Chris Benz's display, stroking a silky soft pair of peachy pajamas and wondering if the PR team would spot me a pair pre-launch (just kidding?), I saw the designer himself nearby. The two of us had spoken earlier in the week about his long-standing obsession with eBay (the last thing he bought? "A lamp from the Netherlands that looks like a white balloon and attaches to the wall like a sconce") and I was curious to know more about his partnership with the company. We started chatting and the conversation quickly turned from business to bidding tips and TV shows.

So tell me a little about the collection.
Everything is surrounding the idea of travel because I do so much of it. There's boy's and girl's pajamas and they come with this little pouch that doubles as a pillow case for the airplane. The boy's has long pants and the girl's version is the same but with shorts. A little scarf wrap, for the plane and canvas pouches—you can't have enough of those! Little correspondence cards, with a printed back and a cashmere T-shirt, because every loves a cashmere T-shirt! On this one they replicated a tattoo I have and put my signature on the side. So yeah, just little things for travel so you feel more comfortable and less terrible while traveling.

That print is so prettydid you develop it just for this collaboration?
This is a print that we used for the resort collection. So when this goes live, on November 12, it will sort of coincide with our resort collections. So there's a crossover, which is really nice. The print also looks so great against all those neutrals.

My editor was talking about your eBay skills at the office today. She said that you got some rare piece of art because the listing was misspelled?
I just keep buying stuff on eBay, I LOVE to get stuff on eBay! There's like a website you can go to that you can type in what you're searching for and it will like automatically search every misspelling ever. I forget what it's called—just Google like..."eBay misspelling website." Or something.

Wow. So do you like, wake up and check eBay for new stuff every morning?
I set up saved searches so it emails me with stuff I always search for, you know?

I find that I get really stressed out if people start to outbid me. I've stayed up to three in the morning to win auctions before.
You can set up auction sniper and it will just bid for you at the last second.

That's a good idea, I didn't know about that. Thanks for all the tips.
No problem! Are you done for the day after this?

I am. I'm heading home to watch TV. I need to pick out a new show to watch—any recommendations?
Have you seen Political Animals yet? On USA? My friend Sebastian is in it and takes place in Washington D.C.—I'd recommend it. Or how about that Aaron Sorkin one—The Newsroom! It's very of the moment. I just started watching Heroes, which is really old. But I was going through my DVDs and was like "Wait! I have a box set of Heroes." It must have been a Christmas present or something so I was like, "I'll just watch this."

Click through the slideshow below to sneak peek all the pieces in the eBay Holiday Collection and visit Ebaycollective.com for more information.

photo: WWD/Thomas Iannaccone

Chris Benz


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