Veteran designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac has always blurred the boundaries between fashion and art. His most memorable creation, worn by Madonna and Lauren Hutton back in 1989, was a snuggly winter coat made with precisely 39 teddy bears. Two decades later, Lady Gaga was heralding his muppet-inspired fashion via a green Kermit the Frog jacket. And now, it’s time for Italian label United Colors of Benetton to get a makeover as Castelbajac takes the helm as its artistic director.
Benetton, renowned for being a trailblazer for promoting diversity and inclusivity, has always embraced equal representation, whether it is through their choice of strong colours used in the collections or the bold political statements communicated through their campaigns. The brand has also been open to collaborations, like the designer collection co-curated with Stella Jean back in 2016, which showcases their ability to stay ahead of the curve.
Castelbajac has already started prepping for his first Benetton collection, which (according to his latest Instagram posts) aims to bring to light Benetton’s rich heritage. What we’re looking forward for the most, though, is for Castelbajac’s quirky yet stylish aesthetics in Benetton’s clothing that can be channelled into everyday wear.
The artistic director, who launched his first brand in collaboration with his mother in 1968, has been a big proponent of art—whether it was his street art-inspired collections or his collaborations with artists like Andy Warhol. Needless to say, his first collection for Benetton will be infused with art and bright colours. “United Colors of Benetton and I have always had a similar take on fashion, characterised by the passion for knitwear and the love of pop and rainbow colours,” the designer says.
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