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The Rule Breaker

Umit Benan

After moving to Milan from New York last year, Umit Benan endured months of suspicious looks from his Italian neighbors. It seems the well-heeled Milanese didn't know what to make of Benan's downtown scruff, tats, ratty T-shirts, and stovepipe jeans. But rather than give in to the city's clean-shaven suit-and-tie code, the Turkish-born menswear designer stuck to his aesthetic guns and turned the chilly reception into inspiration. At first glance, his debut collection of suits, shirts, knits, and outerwear seems defiantly rough and rugged, much like Benan himself. But a closer look reveals a discreet new play on luxury: He crafts garments using the reverse side of top-tier fabrics like cashmere and Sea Island cotton. "What you see," Benan says, "is not what you get." Available at Saks Fifth Avenue, New York.

Mark McNairy

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