BEN TAVERNITI™ UNRAVEL

BEN TAVERNITI™ UNRAVEL

Ben Taverniti

In Paris for Men’s Fashion Week, you showed your men’s and women’s Fall-Winter 2017 collections. Can you describe them for us?
The Ben Taverniti™ U N R A V E L new men’s and women’s collections show a grown-up version of Unravel. Style-wise, they are the same to me. Every single item showed at the showroom was made “for me”, meaning that there’s nothing that I wouldn’t wear. Regarding the women’s collection, I feel like it’s the perfect closet for my wife. It’s a very selfish approach but it makes a cohesive body of work. It’s also how you create a following. People can see and feel when you’re true to yourself. Spotting a poser is pretty easy. You definitely don’t see one here.
Unravel is more cultural than trendy. Commercial success doesn’t really matter. Designing these clothes makes me happy, regardless.
Same question as for Heron Preston: living in Los Angeles, CA and working between L.A. and Milan, why is it important to you to take part in this Paris Men’s Fashion Week?
Because I’m French, and even living in Los Angeles couldn’t take that away from me.
Showing in Paris gives you some credit that other cities can’t give you, Milan included. Paris is stronger. And even beyond fashion and industry talk, I’m French! I attended ESMOD here, I worked here for ten years at Homecore and Lady Soul, prior to joining Jeremy Scott. Everything started in Paris for me.Unravel is made in Italy. We have design offices in Milan and Los Angeles. I’m always traveling back and forth between these cities and the brand is the perfect combination of both.
Unravel started making menswear last season, once you joined New Guards Group. Do you feel more free designing for one gender than the other?
For some reason, I feel more pressure working on menswear. I have a very specific aesthetic and want to make sure that it’s properly understood. In the mean time, I reach for perfection. Let’s take the shoes for instance. I’m a shoe addict, all about Nike and adidas. It’s very difficult to make this type of kicks. I don’t care to make a pair worth $500. I want to know how they make their $120 shoes that’s better than any high-end or luxury shoes. Regarding women, I feel like I understand them. Working with my wife and muse, Joyce Bonelli, helps and inspires me a lot. But if you look at it, Unravel is really androgynous. Women could totally wear my new men’s collection. And vice versa, the women’s bombers and hoodies can appeal to men. I enjoy my wife being able to take one of my jackets and still look dope! She can wear it with a bodysuit and still be Unravel. It goes back to the selfishness we were talking about earlier…
What part does Joyce Bonelli play by your side at Unravel?
Joyce is the boss! I design the collections and when I feel ready, I show them to her. Nothing goes in production as long as she doesn’t have a look. I was starting Unravel when I met her. I remember one day, I was showing her things and she told me what was good and not good. We argued on some items, and she was like “It won’t look good on photos”. She learned me how to see things and work differently. Now we always shoot pieces and try to make them look good. Also, Joyce has some very influential friends. She sends them things and I know what’s working and what’s not. I know what they want and how they wear things. That’s a priceless source of information. Her very glamorous, feminine personality and mine match very well. People know her for her social media, her celebrity clients… that’s her world. Her friends became my friends and we get along very well, but I’m still watching everything from the outside. I’m not trying to get all the way in her space either. It’s hard for me to be associated with that.
"I'm fighting for people to understand that there's something behind, years of work and dedication. Look at Marcelo [Burlon], Virgil [Abloh]... they worked hard to get where they are today." [BEN TAVERNITI™ UNRAVEL]
Why is that?
Joyce and I are different on certain things. I’m not a great marketer and PR agent. I’m shy and feel uncomfortable at times, but Joyce could talk to you for hours! Everybody loves her for that. But when I’m home working, she knows not to disturb me. We really complete each other.
What’s your design philosophy?
The idea of Unravel is to create the perfect closet. I work the same wardrobe and refine it, each season.Everybody wears a bomber, a hoodie or jeans. I make them my way and introduce luxury into streetwear. And by luxury, I mean the feeling of getting a timeless and high-quality piece, one you can wear over and over again. Streets are my inspiration. I’m not into dressing people that attend society events. I’ll never do a red carpet gown, the ones that are worth x thousand dollars and that you wear once for a picture. But the reality is that we dress the same people, for their whole day. That was the challenge, and this is the essence of streetwear.
The name of the brand, Ben Taverniti™ U N R A V E L, and the way it’s stylised, is also interesting! What does it stand for?
Here’s the story. It started as Unravel and Unravel Project was the name of the company. When I partnered with New Guards Group, they were convinced that the brand needed my name in front. I always fought not to put my name out, mainly because of my father—fashion designer Jimmy Taverniti. He was very famous is Europe in the eighties, and I was trying to avoid being associated with him. I didn’t want to be “the son of”. This is also where the word Unravel comes from. It was my first statement.NGG was right; including my name in the name of the brand helped a lot! Now people can put a name and a face on it, and identify the person behind it. Something emotional comes to life and they want to be associated with you, to join the movement.
And we see it with your labelmates Marcelo Burlon County of Milan, Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh or Heron Preston!
Indeed! They were right. It’s great to have somebody else’s perspective on things, somebody from the outside.
This change also brings fame your way. Being shy and reserved, how do you deal with that?
I clearly struggle with it. I also don’t realise it yet, but Joyce is up to it! “People are obsessed with Unravel, she says. Unravel is you, it’s us. People know us and recognise us.” It’s happening more and more often, and mainly thanks to her. She is very well-known in a certain space, and now people are curious about our personal life. We just had twins [Raz and Kal-El Bonelli Taverniti, born in December 2016] and people I don’t know congratulate us. We have to be responsible now, beyond the brand Unravel. Joyce has the celebrity, reality TV side to her, and it puts us in front of another audience. So I remind her how important her power is, that she needs to be careful and how the way we look is important. Not as being cool or whatever, but in the sense of us keeping certain things to ourselves, like money for instance. In L.A. and in the US in general, they love to show out what they have. I don’t want to.
Humbleness is another of your French-inherited personality traits?
It is, and I hold on to it! But more importantly, we owe something to younger people watching us. If they see you as a role model, you have to be one. With social media, they only see what we show to them, it’s true. But people don’t imagine the work that goes behind these pictures we post, or what it took to get to this point. In my case, this is 20 years in the making. Joyce has been working with the [Kardashian] family for 10 years. That’s 20 hours a day. This is hectic.
I’m more interested in showing that out. It was hard but we made it. I’m fighting for people to understand that there’s something behind, years of work and dedication. Look at Marcelo, Virgil… they worked hard to get where they are today.
by IGGY NKO Photo Joyce Bonnelli et Ben Taverniti

BEN TAVERNITI™ UNRAVEL

Ben Taverniti

In Paris for Men’s Fashion Week, you showed your men’s and women’s Fall-Winter 2017 collections. Can you describe them for us?
The Ben Taverniti™ U N R A V E L new men’s and women’s collections show a grown-up version of Unravel. Style-wise, they are the same to me. Every single item showed at the showroom was made “for me”, meaning that there’s nothing that I wouldn’t wear. Regarding the women’s collection, I feel like it’s the perfect closet for my wife. It’s a very selfish approach but it makes a cohesive body of work. It’s also how you create a following. People can see and feel when you’re true to yourself. Spotting a poser is pretty easy. You definitely don’t see one here.
Unravel is more cultural than trendy. Commercial success doesn’t really matter. Designing these clothes makes me happy, regardless.
Same question as for Heron Preston: living in Los Angeles, CA and working between L.A. and Milan, why is it important to you to take part in this Paris Men’s Fashion Week?
Because I’m French, and even living in Los Angeles couldn’t take that away from me.
Showing in Paris gives you some credit that other cities can’t give you, Milan included. Paris is stronger. And even beyond fashion and industry talk, I’m French! I attended ESMOD here, I worked here for ten years at Homecore and Lady Soul, prior to joining Jeremy Scott. Everything started in Paris for me.Unravel is made in Italy. We have design offices in Milan and Los Angeles. I’m always traveling back and forth between these cities and the brand is the perfect combination of both.
Unravel started making menswear last season, once you joined New Guards Group. Do you feel more free designing for one gender than the other?
For some reason, I feel more pressure working on menswear. I have a very specific aesthetic and want to make sure that it’s properly understood. In the mean time, I reach for perfection. Let’s take the shoes for instance. I’m a shoe addict, all about Nike and adidas. It’s very difficult to make this type of kicks. I don’t care to make a pair worth $500. I want to know how they make their $120 shoes that’s better than any high-end or luxury shoes. Regarding women, I feel like I understand them. Working with my wife and muse, Joyce Bonelli, helps and inspires me a lot. But if you look at it, Unravel is really androgynous. Women could totally wear my new men’s collection. And vice versa, the women’s bombers and hoodies can appeal to men. I enjoy my wife being able to take one of my jackets and still look dope! She can wear it with a bodysuit and still be Unravel. It goes back to the selfishness we were talking about earlier…
What part does Joyce Bonelli play by your side at Unravel?
Joyce is the boss! I design the collections and when I feel ready, I show them to her. Nothing goes in production as long as she doesn’t have a look. I was starting Unravel when I met her. I remember one day, I was showing her things and she told me what was good and not good. We argued on some items, and she was like “It won’t look good on photos”. She learned me how to see things and work differently. Now we always shoot pieces and try to make them look good. Also, Joyce has some very influential friends. She sends them things and I know what’s working and what’s not. I know what they want and how they wear things. That’s a priceless source of information. Her very glamorous, feminine personality and mine match very well. People know her for her social media, her celebrity clients… that’s her world. Her friends became my friends and we get along very well, but I’m still watching everything from the outside. I’m not trying to get all the way in her space either. It’s hard for me to be associated with that.
"I'm fighting for people to understand that there's something behind, years of work and dedication. Look at Marcelo [Burlon], Virgil [Abloh]... they worked hard to get where they are today." [BEN TAVERNITI™ UNRAVEL]
Why is that?
Joyce and I are different on certain things. I’m not a great marketer and PR agent. I’m shy and feel uncomfortable at times, but Joyce could talk to you for hours! Everybody loves her for that. But when I’m home working, she knows not to disturb me. We really complete each other.
What’s your design philosophy?
The idea of Unravel is to create the perfect closet. I work the same wardrobe and refine it, each season.Everybody wears a bomber, a hoodie or jeans. I make them my way and introduce luxury into streetwear. And by luxury, I mean the feeling of getting a timeless and high-quality piece, one you can wear over and over again. Streets are my inspiration. I’m not into dressing people that attend society events. I’ll never do a red carpet gown, the ones that are worth x thousand dollars and that you wear once for a picture. But the reality is that we dress the same people, for their whole day. That was the challenge, and this is the essence of streetwear.
The name of the brand, Ben Taverniti™ U N R A V E L, and the way it’s stylised, is also interesting! What does it stand for?
Here’s the story. It started as Unravel and Unravel Project was the name of the company. When I partnered with New Guards Group, they were convinced that the brand needed my name in front. I always fought not to put my name out, mainly because of my father—fashion designer Jimmy Taverniti. He was very famous is Europe in the eighties, and I was trying to avoid being associated with him. I didn’t want to be “the son of”. This is also where the word Unravel comes from. It was my first statement.NGG was right; including my name in the name of the brand helped a lot! Now people can put a name and a face on it, and identify the person behind it. Something emotional comes to life and they want to be associated with you, to join the movement.
And we see it with your labelmates Marcelo Burlon County of Milan, Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh or Heron Preston!
Indeed! They were right. It’s great to have somebody else’s perspective on things, somebody from the outside.
This change also brings fame your way. Being shy and reserved, how do you deal with that?
I clearly struggle with it. I also don’t realise it yet, but Joyce is up to it! “People are obsessed with Unravel, she says. Unravel is you, it’s us. People know us and recognise us.” It’s happening more and more often, and mainly thanks to her. She is very well-known in a certain space, and now people are curious about our personal life. We just had twins [Raz and Kal-El Bonelli Taverniti, born in December 2016] and people I don’t know congratulate us. We have to be responsible now, beyond the brand Unravel. Joyce has the celebrity, reality TV side to her, and it puts us in front of another audience. So I remind her how important her power is, that she needs to be careful and how the way we look is important. Not as being cool or whatever, but in the sense of us keeping certain things to ourselves, like money for instance. In L.A. and in the US in general, they love to show out what they have. I don’t want to.
Humbleness is another of your French-inherited personality traits?
It is, and I hold on to it! But more importantly, we owe something to younger people watching us. If they see you as a role model, you have to be one. With social media, they only see what we show to them, it’s true. But people don’t imagine the work that goes behind these pictures we post, or what it took to get to this point. In my case, this is 20 years in the making. Joyce has been working with the [Kardashian] family for 10 years. That’s 20 hours a day. This is hectic.
I’m more interested in showing that out. It was hard but we made it. I’m fighting for people to understand that there’s something behind, years of work and dedication. Look at Marcelo, Virgil… they worked hard to get where they are today.
by IGGY NKO Photo Joyce Bonnelli et Ben Taverniti