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Benjamin Fitzgerald
Jan 16, 2018
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Isabel Benenato unveils refined collection for debut Milan show

Translated by
Benjamin Fitzgerald
Jan 16, 2018

Discreet and in the shadows of the flashy fashion world, Isabel Benenato found herself in the spotlight for the first time this Milan fashion week, with a notable show of neutral, knitwear pieces on Saturday.

The 38-year-old Neapolitan designer, now based in Massa Macinaia, Tuscany, revealed a designer mastery of impeccable cuts and evidenced texture research, all seen in the finer details.

Isabel Benenato, autumn-winter 2018-19 - DR

"After ten years, the time came for me to show. I felt ready," explained the modest Isabel Benenato backstage in Milan.

For autumn/winter 2018, her collection boasts essential and timeless pieces, both elegant and comfortable, where texture and knits take pride of place. 

Precision and detail were also key this season via her magnificent wools in different gauges, beautiful white cotton shirting with Mandarin collars, mohair sweaters, and enveloping coats. Meanwhile, woven fabric panels formed sculpture dresses for women, who also wore fine tunics in voile. 

Isabel Benenato - DR

Neutral tones were key, very black, and textiles were natural (wool, alpaca line, hemp and silk).

"It's a muted, but concrete collection. I have always worked on the content. My ethos leans toward purity, the essential, with clothing far from anything common. I attach great importance to the cut, with a little bit an of avant-garde character and I love to create knitwear," explained the designer, who produces all her clothes in Italy, between Naples and Lucca, most notably in her husband's knitwear factory.

Inspired by the planets and stars, "to create a touch of mystery", the collection was finished with rock crystal pendants, sumptuous scarves with irregular frames made on ancient looms, as well as shoes with laces and thick soles in reference to the first steps taken on the moon.

This was a first for the designer, who unveiled this season a shoe collection with a Veneto manufacturer. Another poetic feature was the use of long, white threads, which sat on black coats like a star constellation. 

A womenswear look by Isabel Benenato - DR

Relatively unknown to the mainstream public, Isable Benenato is no debutant. A long time fan of chiffon, she grew up alongside her designer mother (Anna Lucia) and her uncle, also a maker of clothes. After studying English literature and Spanish, she went on to study fashion design in London, before launching her namesake label in 2008. 

"I debuted all alone with my first collection, made up of just 16 knitwear items. I still remember it, I sold 87 pieces. The top Italian stores have believed in me since the beginning. Now, I am stocked in 200 multibrand retailers globally," added Benenato. 

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