The trick of the trade when heading up an old house is striking the balance of name-checking its extensive archive without offering a stale retro-rehash. It’s an awkward line to walk, but one that Umit Benan – the acclaimed Turkish talent behind Trussardi – is proving well adept at. This S/S collection, an exploration of young urban men on summer vacations, may just be his best yet.
One got the sense that this was something of a coming of age offering. Having spent the last few seasons – both at Trussardi and under his own eponymous brand – clearly setting out his own modern agenda and identity Benan now felt confident enough to tap into the heart and heritage of this century-old brand. Today was a veritable festival of Trussardi fandom, as each crevice of the label’s success was churned out again in force. Aptly, leather – the texture through which the house initially built its name as a glove maker - had a starring role via peccary jackets and structured weekend bags, carried two at a time. Similarly, the famous Trussardi greyhound logo – the first insignia ever to be adopted by a fashion house – was brought into the mix, at its best in a ditsy print on polo shirts and jackets (offering a savvy whiff of neighbouring powerhouse Prada), and at its worse with the terrified hounds reluctantly stomping the runway alongside models.
Despite this plethora of historical shout-outs the collection felt fresh and modern thanks to the striking colour palette of seventies-style banana yellow, royal blue and Robin Hood green (it was a pleasant change to see Benan finally retire his much-loved eighties references). Shapes – including neat Bermuda shorts, handsome formal suits and linen shirts - were wearable and relevant. To keep things playful, Benan threw in some witty final touches, including camera-case micro satchels worn as bum-bags and sweet sewn-in pockets on trousers and jackets to accommodate a newspaper on the go (perfect for the thinking man’s wardrobe).
There was only one obvious quibble against this otherwise stellar offering. This season has seen a couple of collections fall flat because of over-zealous styling – the Daks disaster being the key example. While Benan’s looks were by no means gimmicky, they could have done with being paired back a little - less dogs, more togs, to put it bluntly.
But pups aside, Trussardi’s on to a winner. Milan may not be the city that moves fashion mountains or revolutionises the way chaps dress, but from where I’m sitting it looks like they're harbouring the best young talent out there.