In the three short years since Chris Gelinas launched his brand, CG, he has won the MADE for Peroni Young Designer Award, as well as made it to the finals in both the LVMH Young Fashion Designers prize and the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. His collections have increasingly garnered a positive critical response in New York. One would think that now would be the time to continue to focus on building his own line, and building off the momentum, rather than dividing his attention to other projects. Yet this week, it was announced that Gelinas is the new creative director of the fashion/lifestyle brand Becken.
“I’ve had a few of these opportunities cross my way before,” he explained of how the partnership came about. “[This time], I just instantly felt a very natural pull towards the brand. Ideas started flowing very easily, and I thought if I’m going to take on a project secondary to my own collection I want it to have a real authenticity, and to do it with integrity, and not just try and force something.”
Founded only one year ago by Angela Beck, the concept behind Becken is easy clothing with an equestrian feel, tied to the history of Gainesway (the historic farm in Kentucky where Beck resides). It is far too young to be a heritage brand, but its root with Gainesway makes up for that, and gives Gelinas source material to draw upon, while still allowing him to carve out the brand’s identity in the retail market.
“I have the really unique opportunity to have such an authenticity and a history at my fingertips, which is really rare,” he said. “I think for any designer, especially a young designer, that’s a dream scenario, where you have this real authenticity, this real history that you get to remold with your own modern take and spin.”
Heading into fashion week at the helm of two brands is a stress few designers take on. After leaving DKNY, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne revealed the difficulties of working on the brand as well as their own line, Public School. Recently, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia of Monse have tried to appease the pressure of their work on Oscar de la Renta by combining the two shows. Gelinas, on the other hand, seems to be excited by the creative duality the brands will allow him to explore.
“It’s definitely something new, but I think having an outlet for my creativity that’s such a different world, which Becken is, has been really invigorating,” he explained. “It’s actually reignited what I’m doing at CG as well, which has allowed it to become much more elevated, and much more focused. We get to push a lot more ideas at CG now, because I have this amazing outlet for the much more wearable, everyday pieces.”
As for what we can expect from CG, Gelinas lists shape and feel as something he explored. “I’m sure everyone’s feeling similar sentiments, but there is just this kind of feeling of an emotional boiling point, you know? This kind of explosive energy,” he explained of the feel for the upcoming season. “I think the way that it's taken shape in CG is in a very positive expression. There’s a lot of movement, a lot of textures, some really interesting volumes, and it’s been really fun to have the freedom to push the envelope even further than I have in the past.”
Gelinas’s first collection for the Becken will debut on February 8. He will present his line CG during New York fashion week on February 11.