United Colors of Benetton – Fall Winter 2018 Collection
United Colors of Benetton’s Fall/Winter 2018 wardrobe is a symphony of possibilities for him & her: quality, casual chic and Italian-style beauty.
I had the pleasure of attending the Benetton AW18 Fashion Showcase which took place at the flagship store in Stephens Green, Dublin with a live fashion presentation hosted by Laura Mullet….
United Colors of Benetton’s Fall/Winter 2018 wardrobe expresses the easy way with fashion that has always been the brand’s hallmark – a style that effortlessly meets the demands of the modern woman.
Transitional in mid-season, it combines clean, oversize shapes and resistant, quality fabrics. Fall is the essence of comfort, it’s warm and enveloping, and presents knitwear in warm, burnt shades and a plethora of patterns, from Fair Isle to madras checks, Prince of Wales check and classic tartan. Knitwear features colour blocking, stripes and ombre hues, as well as ramage and ikat designs for a folk touch. The fashion forward colours mix cherry, paprika, ochre and peacock blue. Sweatshirts feature prominently, and come in classic sporty colour melanges, but cropped and oversized designed for layering.
Geometrically structured blouses and shirts have mini collars and are also maxi-shaped – the feeling is Nordic, with a Scandi-look. The must-have accessory is the corset, which defines an up to date silhouette – nipped in waist, wide pants and micro top – for a strongly physical DE structured look. This style pairs with very high-waisted pants, with either a crease or bell-bottoms. More mannish are the soft, pleated stovepipe pants, a stellar example of relaxed city styling. The flared midi skirt and the V bodice midi dress with nipped in waist and full skirt are both hot looks for this winter – femininity without compromise.
Winter is technical, high performance and innovative. United Colors of Benetton has created a collection in glacé colours, from mauve to dove grey, bone and blue-grey, with a prevalence of cool shades. Digital and pixilated prints reinterpret elements from nature, flowers are given an X-Ray effect, as are maxi plaid and stripe patterns. Knitwear imaginatively combines smooth wools with tactile bouclé, matelassé, 3D and faux fur textures.
Finishes are elaborate, with an experimental feel. Metallic yarn also contributes to this ultra-current style with intertwined bronze and silver embroidery with a techno-romantic touch in the weave of a futuristic idea with sculptural forms. Its checks all the way for must-have outerwear, from windowpane to Prince of Wales. From the flared coat with an eco-friendly faux fur collar to the feminine reefer, the workwear jacket, the blazer, and the cropped puffer, there is just one trend – go check or go home! The new parkas that combine technical and fashion, the soft coats to wear like blankets and the shearling are well in line with the season’s top trends.
United Colours of Benetton’s men’s Fall/Winter 2018 wardrobe is designed with practicality and style in mind, with revisited, updated versions of the mainstays of Italian style. Pieces range from sporty and mid-season carrot-leg gym pants, rugby-stripe polo shirts, the college bomber jacket, to utility mixed with street style.
Here we find Prince of Wales check shirts and jackets with faux fur collars, arty striped jumpers, corduroy pants, and a revisited Prince of Wales on pants, shackets and slim fit reefers. Washes are elaborate, such as tie-dye, sweaters are “worker” style, and slogan-printed sweatshirts are fit for a chic graffiti artist. Eye-catching outerwear with minimal detailing includes “pin striped” puffer jackets and zipped coats with sporty details. Must haves are the all-over tartan suits, with either a reefer jacket or windbreaker and matching pants – original, fun, and up to the minute.
All-important focus is on knitwear – mouliné, colourful, striped or techno with inserts. Colours are refined and masculine and go from warm fall shades – ochre, camel and wine to darker nuances of purple, greys and mauve. A pure, easy, urban style.
What do we know about Benetton?
Launched in 1965 with a single collection of colorful sweaters, Benetton is today a global success story, producing over 150,000,000 garments a year for 6,000 Benetton stores in 120 countries. Founder Luciano Benetton’s commitment to design has been consistent from the start, as demonstrated by timeless architecture by Afra and Tobia Scarpa and Tadao Ando, groundbreaking advertising by Oliviero Toscani, and Tibor Kalman’svisionary magazine Colors. In the late 90s, Massimo Vignelli created a consolidated graphic identity system based on Toscani’s advertising theme, “United Colors of Benetton.”
Ten years later, with Benetton facing an increasingly competitive marketplace, Pentagram was asked to refine that identity system. Did it still make sense to have identical green hangtags bearing “United Colors of Benetton” on every piece of merchandise in every Benetton store, regardless of style or price? How should we express the wide range of product lines the company produces? Finally, what are the company’s true visual assets, and how might they be used most effectively?
The result was a new set of guidelines for the application of graphics to items in Benetton’s product lines; on hangtags, labels and packaging; in advertising, promotions, on storefronts and on the web. Pentagram collaborated with an internal team at Benetton led by the tireless Francesca Sartorato to work through every detail of the program.
The core of Benetton’s identity remains its familiar green tag. We commissioned a new typeface in multiple weights by Joe Finocchiaro to replace the Gill Sans chosen by Toscani in the 80s. This new font provides the basis for an updated United Colors of Benetton wordmark and, beyond that, the whole of Benetton’s new brand architecture. Garment labels are vertical to match the orientation of the hangtag.
Pentagram suggested that the company revive its classic “punto maglia” (or “stitch”) insignia, an icon that that still enjoyed high recognition although it had fallen into disuse since the early 1990s. We created variations using lines and dots, and combined multiple symbols to create a range of repeat patterns. The geometry of the symbol was also used as the basis of a redrawn Benetton Bunny, the mascot for the company’s baby merchandise
The heart of the guidelines document is the articulation of a complete brand architecture for the company. “United Colors of Benetton” now identifies the retailer’s core product lines. New lines were created to designate products that were offered at higher price points (Sartoria Benetton, Stile Benetton), or manufactured in different materials and styles (Benetton Cashmere, Benetton Jeans), or targeted to specific customer groups (Benetton Tween, Benetton Baby).
The new brand structure dramatizes the breadth and quality of the Benetton offering, clarifies the way products are organized at point of sale, and makes it easier for consumers to find what they’re looking for.
The guidelines provide comprehensive specifications for the way each line is identified, from hangtags and labels to rivets, buttons, zipper pulls and garment tags.
A dynamic fashion company like Benetton depends on innovation and surprise to keep the brand fresh. Pentagram developed a series of logo variations based on the basic geometry of the new Benetton typeface: versions include ones that are stenciled, slab serif, stitched, distressed, handdrawn, exploded, and even a baroque version drawn by Marian Bantjes. Overall, the program at once grounds Benetton more securely in its heritage, and points to new directions for the future. Within a consistent framework, the company has new tools to compete in an ever-expanding global marketplace.
Why is Benetton cool again?
Luciano Benetton, founder of the Italian fashion chain, has taken back control at the age of 82. He wants to return his company to its former glory: “The decay is unbearable”, he announced in the La Repubblica paper.
He certainly has…..check out the new collection again and relive your youth!