B+ Umit Benan Men’s Collection Spring 2023
It’s too hot for Umit Benan. During a visit to his Navigli studio today, the designer morosely chewed on a cigar and lamented the rising mercury here in Milan. And yet, each cloud: Arranged on the rails behind it, there were clothes that made you feel cold just by looking at them.
Chief among them were his signature airy kaftans in lightweight, sheer striped cotton and trousers in dark navy or off-white that were loosely shaped like workwear but came in leisure-focused pajama silk: really lush. There were also shirts and shorts in the same material to complete the triptych of overly hot go-tos. Long unisex skirts in a less delicate fabric were also airy options.
Benan has branched out into a bolder color than before via a bright insolation red. It has proven alarmingly appealing transmitted through its low-armhole, long-panelled silk shirts and the powerfully precise suits made by Caruso but specified by Benan that are the bread and butter of this high-rolling brand. The designer said around 40% of sales are now driven by bespoke orders, increasingly in the US.
Subtly applied, except for an irresistible sailor hat, there was an undercurrent of maritime reference, mainly focused on the pants. Benan said he imagined himself on holiday in a Cuban port – Cuba is the starting point of the B+ aesthetic – watching visitors set off ashore mingling with local earthlings. This led to the interestingly updated sailor pants, pleated instead of flat, and some sash detailing on the shirt.
Benan’s designs are beautifully shaped and meticulously thought out. They’re also priced so much that it’s almost impossible to convey their cost-value through imagery alone: it’s only when you touch, smell and wear them that you understand. Hot stuff.