Benetton makes a splash

AP/AFP — Benetton has long made waves off the runway with its provocative advertising campaigns. But the storied family-owned knitwear brand is seeking to make waves inside the world of Italian fashion under the artistic guidance of French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.

United Colours of Benetton made a splash with its new collection showcasing experimental textiles and ecological materials that was presented inside a 1930s-era swimming hall.

In his second season with the brand, Castelbajac said he is aiming to create a balance between Benetton’s every-man and every-woman image while elevating its styling and innovation.

A trench coat made out of paper and recycled fibers was the apex of innovation in the runway show, which took place along the perimeter of the pool.

Other standout pieces included a handkerchief skirt featuring a stylized postcard print on the front that can be worn with a flowing silhouette, or tied in the front or back for a straight look in two different prints. And selections covered with tiny sweaters or mini T-shirts bearing images from Oliverio Toscanini’s advertising campaigns were meant to inspire playfulness.

The co-ed collection was anchored by the brand’s famous colors and denim, epitomized by a check denim kilt with multi-colour pleated inserts that was paired with a rainbow-striped knit top and striped color-sheer hosiery for her and multi-colored pockets on white garments for him.

The offerings mostly hewed to a watery theme. The show opened with neoprene rompers, tops and mini-dresses with oversized plastic zippers followed by a series of bold nautical looks with anchor motifs. But there were also preppy outfits in clashing patterns of pink and green and a garden club series of striped embroidered eyelet layered with florals.