Those of you who followed my Instagram closely while I was in Europe might remember a photo I posted of a piece of paper covered in psychopath-esque chicken scrawls. That’s because on the first day of Milan Fashion Week I interviewed Umit Benan for GQ by phone as I was waiting for the Costume National show to begin, and since iPhones don’t allow you to record phone calls, I was forced to scrawl the answers on the envelope of the Ermenegildo Zegna invitation while sitting on top of a speaker in a not particularly quiet corner of the room. It’s a glamorous life.
Umit was a gentleman on the phone, and he was also endlessly quotable (which helps in these situations), and when I met him IRL at a party a couple of nights later in Milan, then saw his show a couple of days after that in Paris, I understood entirely why he has had so much success. He’s equal parts charismatic, energetic, and enigmatic, and he has the hulking good looks of a medieval villain. Fascinating man. His 10 Essentials is up now on the GQ site, and it includes amazing cultural artifacts like Andre Agassi’s denim tennis shorts: “They’re so tacky that they’re amazing,” and his hometown Istanbul: “I love waking up and listening to the prayers being chanted from the mosques, but still being able to live a modern life.” Check it out. And click below to see the Instagram shot of the interview.
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