Thirty-two-year-old Umit Benan is one of fashion’s brightest young talents. But he is first and foremost a menswear designer and never has that been clearer than on the runway of Trussardi’s S/S 2013 womenswear offering.
Benan loves a good story. For this collection his came up with an extravagant plotline that saw his girl skip off to the USA to have a carefree time in the big apple (particular attention was placed on a unconventional cocktail party on a roof terrace). The tale clearly determined the pace of the clothing, which saw his girl shake things up in leather bombers, oversized faded print suits, midi skirts and quirky headwear. Echoing the vacation theme, his colour palette resembled the shades of dulling caravan interiors – burnt orange, canary yellow and dusty navy. Despite a proclaimed seventies focus Benan’s obsessive penchant for the eighties couldn’t help but crop up, particularly in the strong shoulders, layered leather and collared loose fitting dresses.
While Benan’s tale of a summer trip was a promising vision – which for the most part elicited an intriguing collection - the end of the story turned out to be a little too predictable: the good girl slips on a good old masculine suit and never looks back. Followers of Benan’s work will already be well aware that he harbours a particular passion for women that wear menswear – indeed, his eponymous menswear label’s recent show was entirely dedicated to them – but this season his passion for tomboys seemed staid, and even at points sluggish, rather than fresh. The press notes mentioned that his female protagonist was facing ‘the contrast between a conservative background and the desire to break out of the mould’ – could this theatrical young creative have been referring to himself and his work within the heritage label? After all, there’s only so long he can go on shoehorning his fetish for eighties menswear into all his Trussardi turnouts, no matter what accompanying tale he spins.
Benan’s notes maintained that the Trussardi girl feels ‘right at home in men’s style sartorial suits’. Is it perhaps bright young Benan, rather than his imagined muse, who prefers this safe territory? Gender bending was fun for a while, but if the Trussardi woman is to continue her exciting onward journey – greyhound in toe – the highly capable Benan will need to open up to the prospect of separating the men from the girls.