Umit Benan’s God is Black collection opens Milan
He’s back. Umit Benan, Turkey’s most famous menswear designer, presented his first collection in 18 months at an insider lunch in his new headquarters, kicking off the Milan season. Unveiling new clothes and a new corporate strategy.
A swish loft with giant photos, portraits of Umit and a palm filled garden in which an Italo-Turkish lunch of spaghetti with a pot pourri of Levantine vegetables. Located on via Morimondo, a street crammed with fashion headquarters just off Navigli, Milan’s canal district.
Most relevantly, Benan presented some great new clothes: broad stripe gents silk pajama pants; thick cotton judo pants and jackets worn with contrasting leather belts; or splendid elongated dark striped cotton shirts. Like the one worn by Robert Rabensteiner – Italy’s most famous menswear fashion stylist – as he sipped a Bloody Mary.
After a brief hiatus back home in Istanbul, the mustachioed Benan looked refresh and energetic. Puffing on a Tuscan cigar, as a handpicked gathering of barely a dozen top fashion editors inspected the collection.
After skyrocketing to success; including winning Pitti’s Who Is On Next prize in 2010; a memorable moment as creative director of Trussardi and a series of epic Paris shows, Benan took a breather from fashion. His new collection is sold exclusively online with no direct sales to any trendy fashion boutiques.
“I felt lost and pulled between conflicting demands from editors, stores and commercial constraints. So I did nearly 200 hours of therapy back home. And I found god; the inner spirit within me,” revealed Benan.
The starting point for the collection, called God is Black Part 1, was the kepi cap that Muslims wear to prayer in mosques. Worn also by the model in an excellent lookbook shot by tattoo artist and photographer Simone Falcetta. Images of which were displayed on the garden wall.
“Being back in Milan stimulates my creativity. It’s great to be here,” said Umit, who produces his collections in Italy. “Though in many ways I should live in New York. The audience is maybe more in synch with my ideas. Like the kepi – Malcolm X, Denzel Washington and Tupac all have worn them!”
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