Monday, 18 January 2010

Umit Benan's Retired Rockers

Umit Benan (far right) admires his retired rockers.

As well as being the Disneyland of menswear tradeshows, the Pitti foundation supports and promotes new fashion talent. Umit Benan produced his first-ever live show for his AW10/11 collection, called Retired Rockers. Now, ever since I encountered his self titled debut collection I have been a fan of Benan's desire to create garments which can be truly appreciated by the wearer. His classic tailoring and high quality garments are made to be worn. It sounds simple but it is surprising how many collections fail to consider this point. There always seem to be an ease in his look books so when I heard that he had been invited to present at Pitti Uomo I could not wait to see it.



In a recent interview with Valet, Benan remarked "the clothes are never more important than the character. I think personality comes first" and here the German born designer looks to aged musicians. The retired rockers inspiring Benan's collection are a group of musicians who made music history in the 70s and 80s. Once wild kids with no direction besides rousing an entire generation to a blaring rock beat. These rockers, think the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and the boss Bruce Springsteen, experienced and exceeded the limits of everything, women, money an drugs. I caught a glimpse of Ronnie Wood watching the snooker masters final last night at Wembley...I very much doubt Umit Benan's characters would be seen at such a 'sporting' event...


For his presentation at Pitti Uomo, Umit Benan assembled his vision of these old rockers thirty years on getting together at an old East Village. There to reminisce about the good old days whilst enjoying the present good life. The seasoned rockers sat around a dinner table with a couple of young band members with a few beautiful women thrown into the mix, and around them sat the audience. Despite the positive buzz around the Who's on Next menswear award the presentation itself fell a little flat apparently. Kristopher Houser reporting on A Shaded View of Fashion was one of the audience members and even though he was on the front row he felt like an outsider to the clothes. Similarly, WWD described the presentation as 'painfully awkward.' Thankfully, these look book images allow us a closer look in to the style of these aged musicians without a hint of pretension of awkwardness...


Thankfully these old rockers no longer need to wear skinny leather trousers to feel young and now prefer a relaxed, free and easy yet classy style. Retired rockers rarely grow old gracefully but Umit Benan has at least imagined them to dress just that. Fine tailoring sets the tone for the cuts and there is a continual play between slim silhouettes and soft volumes using an easy mix and match of luxurious fabrics with intense colours and innovative graphics. The designer uses the most exclusive of fabrics. From the luxurious textures of classic wools to a comfortably heavy alpaca, From soft cashmeres to shetlands. Velvet and cotton, pique and chambray, suede, pinto pony and even tyvek makes an appearance.


The colours explore the various shades of grey reminiscent of the rockers themselves, Benan introduces forest green and earthy brown, wine red and midnight blue to create a rich palette. These hues meet and mix regularly throughout the British style checks and in the regimental stripes.


An alternation of volumes is a constant theme. Tops and bottoms mix contrasting volumes. Trousers come in all forms imaginable, classic long and straight to tracksuits and pyjama bottoms to cashmere leggings with full waist, low crotch to tapering and narrow cuffs at ankles. Similarly shirts continue this put together theme which is emblematic of Benan's retired rockers wardrobe. The shirts are long and loose fitting at times, with inside out seams and distinctive stripe graphics or check prints whereas some mimic pyjama tops and others more elegant styles have faux-crushed collars. There was a definite sense that this was showcasing a wardrobe which has been built over time. The clothes were styled in a way as to suggest that pieces were thrown on look but everything worked in a wonderfully relaxed way. For more information on the collection, an interesting interview with the designer himself and a closer look at the presentation itself, head over to Dazed Digital...


4 comments:

Otis said...

This has convinced me that it is vital for me to buy boots.

HNF said...

greetings from www.fash-un-able.blogspot.com=)

Joanna M. said...

they look so cool!

www.la-mignonette.blogspot.com

Fernando said...

Love these pictures...very cool

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