By Tiziana Cardini
As far as fashion collabs go, none is more yin-yang oriented than that between Francesca Ruffini and Umit Benan—she, a woman of refined elegance and reading; he, an ebullient rake with a thing for über-luxe, slightly rough-at-the-edges cool.
Yet as the saying goes, opposites attract, and this creative marriage seems to be a match made in heaven.
Ruffini loves spending time in the often off-limits archives of the oldest silk printers in Como, which are among the best on earth.
To research this season, she brought along Benan, who’s famously averse to florals, graphics, and patterns of all kinds. “He looked like a child in a candy store,” said Ruffini. Was that Benan blushing from the other side of the Zoom screen?
Instead of going for the figurative motifs Ruffini favors, Benan’s eye was caught by an old textile, where oily seeds had been layered over to dry, leaving tiny irregular marks on its surface. “If I had been by myself, I wouldn’t have even considered it,” admitted Ruffini.
The motifs were transformed digitally into an abstract print; an old raffia woven mat also provided a textured pattern, reproduced on classic, dense silk twill or recycled silk woven from waste yarn into a wooly fabric, soft and warm like double cashmere.