Umit Benan, Trussardi and Why It All Matters
You may have heard the news of the recent split between Umit Benan and Trussardi ringing across #menswear land over the past few days (it only became official yesterday). And while it all sounded like just another power move in the tumultuous business of fashion, anyone with a vested interest in their tailoring—whether or not you’re keeping an eye on the runways—ought to know what it all could mean to them.
A quick dialogue on what went down, and why it even matters.
So what exactly happened, anyway?: If you’re not up on the news, here’s a quick refresher: Benan has been heralded as a menswear-design luminary ever since splashing onto the scene as the sponsored new talent at Pitti Uomo in 2009. The accolades continued to roll in, and so did the big break: an offer to helm the men’s and women’s designs for the family-owned Italian luxury house Trussardi. Then it all came to a halt three days ago with this tweet: “I have just completed my internship at Trussardi.” (Followed by a flurry of tweets hinting at artistic differences—including his beard.)
What’s so great about his menswear?: Benan’s eponymous line reintroduced sinister edginess to tailored pieces in a way that was different from what was being done—instead of harking back to a time when outlaws wore suits, in the manner of Boardwalk Empire, he created modern outlaws by throwing a ski mask over a guy with a forward-thinking chalk-striped suit.
So I can assume Trussardi wasn’t going to let any ski masks down their runways.: Yeah, this was kind of like when Johnny Damon got traded to the Yankees after he’d pioneered the anti-Yankee beard and longhair persona in Boston all those years. (Yes, we’re also referencing Benan’s beard-shaving allegations.)
So was the Trussardi stuff a disaster?: No, actually—even the women’s line was given great reviews. The thing with Benan’s tailored menswear (minus the ski masks and tunics and tattooed models) is that it really looks like the sort of clothing you or a stately Italian man might wear—with maybe an errant zipper or unexpected detail.
Should I just denounce my love for Italianate #menswear altogether now?: Not just yet—especially because there’s still plenty of life left in that soft-shouldered blazer you bought last summer. But now that Benan is moving back to New York to really delve into his own line, we’ll be keeping a close eye. We could all be wearing cashmere overalls by next spring…
Seriously?: No, but you can be sure whatever this guy sends down the runway is going to have a profound effect on the course of menswear in 2015—whether we continue down the rumpled luxury path or return to a more structured tailoring. Or whatever this is:
- — Najib Benouar