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July 26 2014

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Pitti Uomo, Day 3: Mick, Keef…Umit?

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The Pitti foundation, which supports and promotes new fashion talent, waved its wand over two names this season: shoe designer Max Kibardin (his cowhide clogs were an indelible image) and Umit Benan, who produced his first-ever live show for his Fall men’s collection, called Retired Rockers. It was basically a tableau vivant: Around a dinner table sat a group of seasoned older guys with a couple of young ‘uns and some beautiful women (also, of course, substantially younger) thrown into the mix, and around them sat the audience, looking on uncertainly as the diners made merry. The music was Dire Straits but the vibe was Stones all the way—a kind of worn-out glamour, eccentric elegance, comfort, the degree of connoisseurship that appreciates Nice Things, but, mostly, clothes for men who feel they don’t have to prove anything anymore. “The dressing gown at the end of the driveway,” as Benan put it, obligingly offering some full-length wrap coats in plaid cashmere. But the designer is also a master of no-slouch tailoring, and there was plenty of that, too. As for the appeal of these grizzled old survivors? “There’s experience in older faces,” Benan said before the show. “A young guy’s just a kid for me.” That’s him on the right, above, not much more than a kid himself.

Photo: Courtesy of Umit Benan

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