Monday, 6 July 2009

Faded Elegance of Cuba

I stumbled across Umit Benan's SS10 collection over on Dazed Digital last Friday and it has been playing on my mind ever since and I just had to share it with you. Benan is a designer I've been keeping an eye on in recent seasons becasue he has a genuine talent for talent whilst showcasing his fondess for fabric research and here he focused on cinematographic references, mixing them with his passion for Slim Aarons’ work. After some googling I discovered that the Turkish designer was recently awarded the main prize at the debut edition of Who Is On Next? Uomo for men’s ready-to-wear in Florence for his SS10 offering. The collection of off beat elegance was inspired by Cuba, in particular Al Pacino’s crazed drug baron character in the classic movie Scarface, and included gentlemanly linen and cotton shirt jackets and maxi-volume trousers.

The images reminded me of a TV show I caught last week with the icon of British news, Trevor MacDonald. In the show he took in the ‘faded romance’ of Cuba, the Caribbean’s biggest island as part of The Secret Caribbean series. During the hour show he visited the oldest cigar making factory on the island, and learned about living under a communist regime where food is rationed and a television can cost more than a home. In Cuba, Trevor discovers a country where time has stood still, he declared “The entire city is enveloped by a sense of faded elegance. Buildings once grand and magnificent show signs of weary neglect.” I can certaionly see echoes of this throughout this collection. Here, Benin's inventive baggy cropped trousers and tunic shirt paired with a well tailored double-breasted plaid jacket and espadrilles all combined a truly award-wining proportion which has inspired me to try a bit of faded elegance myself.


Anonymous said...

I like these examples of the modern/party Fidel Castro look.

The style really stands out and says a lot about the person wearing it. That kind of flair creates a lot of social pressure, however.

My article on style and social pressure can be found at

- Troy

Matthew Spade said...

i heard about this series, we have it on record on the old skybox thingy.

really like the trousers actually, and how comfy would they be!

Barima said...

Good find - I rather like these looks. They're a lot more energetic than his previous works - even the current summer offering - but that may be down to the expanded palette and the mildly unusual starting point he's used as inspiration

Baggy trousers in tailored looks occasionally receive a tough time online - I'd know - but they take discernment to be pulled off well. These ones work

Incidentally, Steve, please check your e-mail

Frank&Rémy said...

i ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS! The outfits/looks are so hot. And the trousers sure do look comfy


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