Off the beaten path and down the private road, Isabel Benenato is for men and women who prefer fashion’s road less traveled by. Her effortless, out-of-time pieces inspired by an accumulative, layered approach to dressing, incorporate free form and classic silhouettes, contemporary and historic references, assembled in a symbiotic relationship between design and handcraft.
This all starts with Lucca, the Tuscan town where Isabel and her husband Filippo Novelli and their close knit group of artisans live and work. Design and construction are inextricably linked in a harmonious process of trial and error where creativity is matched by craftsmanship until pieces feel and look exceptional.
Knitwear, leathers and wovens rely on Tuscany’s incomparable techniques which have been passed down in this region from one generation to the next for a lived-in quality. Benenato’s signature shows in the poetic blend of textures, shape and natural arc of colors for both sophisticated urbanites and natural born wanderers.
Isabel Benenato came naturally to design growing up in the creative atmosphere of Naples where her mother and uncle had their own sewing factory. Moving north to Tuscany as a young girl, her design intelligence developed and she pursued her interest in fashion in London before completing a degree in foreign languages at the University of Pisa.
Back in Italy, Benenato immersed herself in technique working with a leather factory near Florence developing finishings for a star roster of international clients until she was ready to design and produce her own collection. Working with Filippo Novelli whose family has a long history in knitwear, Benenato has slowly, but surely developed a complete range for men and women.
MENSWEAR FALL/WINTER 2018
The solar system covers Isabel Benenato’s Fall/Winter 2018-19 men’s collection in a blanket of darkness and light. As a reflection on the mystery of the universe, Benenato traveled the planets starting with the small, cold and obscure dwarf planet Pluto and fiery Mars, both associated with Scorpio, her astrological sign. From there a pattern emerges in the stars seen as small points joined by trajectory lines represented in black and white embroidery.
Immersed in all the nuances of the sky at night, the collection uses hand airbrushing to chart the constellations in blue on black linen/wool.
The wardrobe for this runs from workwear to suits styled in a very sartorial, handmade and avant-garde way including a return to the iconic masculine double-breasted jacket with peak lapels worn with an impeccable white shirt.
Taking its cue from the heavens, the color palette includes black, white, Pluto-inspired hazel, deep, blue, dark gray and dark Mars red. Materials are all natural from all wool for tailoring to wool/linen and wool/hemp for jeans and workwear with prints in lunar landscape patterns. Black, white and dark blue shirts appear throughout the collection to soften the sobriety of refined wool tailoring , or more casual mixed with Casentino wool T-shirts.
Knitwear continues to be a focus in the finest quality yarns and colors reflected in the fabrics. Red is a hallmark accent, a volcanic hint of the passion and creative energy of Mars, while black and gray invoke mystery and white shines like the light of the moon.
This season’s stars are scarves, coats and cloaks woven on antique looms. With their uneven textures, they’re like art pieces and they give this collection a truly beautiful, one-of-a-kind handmade identity.
New this season are shoes. Made in Italy by a fine craftsman, they’re in vegetable treated leather which gives a natural look to amphibious boots, ankle boots and derby styles.
To complete the look are small leather accessories with a dark, mysterious touch in scale-textured fish skin.