United Colors of Benetton Spring/Summer 2020

United Colors of Benetton Spring/Summer 2020

Mediterranean voyage meets high fashion on the Color Wave runway.

Mediterranean voyage meets high fashion on the Color Wave runway.

Text: Dylan Kelly

Inspired entirely by the sea, United Colors of Benetton’s second runway show titled Color Wave opened Milan Fashion Week this season. Sending each of his creations down the poolside runway at the historic Piscina Cozzi, creative director Jean-Charles de Castelbajac introduced his Spring/Summer 2020 collection with an aquatically grandeur presentation. As the French designer put it himself, “Dive into fashion week with Benetton and enjoy the final days of summer, à la piscine”.

From Hydra to St. Tropez, the Mediterranean voyage is evidently the central theme to de Castelbajac’s colorful silhouettes across the collection. Pastel hues of pink, lilac, and pale blue juxtaposed with images of vivid seaports and sandy shorelines serve as the motif of the Benetton essentials. In contrast, bold strikes of primary colors and modern renditions of simple patterns assert a youthful buoyancy that underscores the full range. Nautical stripes paired with red checkers across collared shirts and dresses in a traditional ensemble, while a band of vibrant miniature sweaters decorated full-size pieces for an altered avant-garde approach. 

Controversial imagery of a wolf kissing a lamb and black and white mating horses from Oliviero Toscani’s 20th century advertising campaigns adorn white sweatshirts and maxi t-shirts, accentuating the radical nature of the fashion label. “I wanted to create an exhibition in motion, to show even the younger crowd the revolutionary nature of Oliviero’s work, which is part of the brand’s heritage”, de Castelbajac explained. In addition to Toscani’s photography, illustrations of Popeye the Sailor find prominence on t-shirts, sweaters, and dresses in different prints as an emblem of sustainability, a practice which Benetton holds to the utmost importance. A dynamic range of relevant metaphor and superb design, de Castelbajac did not miss a beat in the creation of this collection. 

Take a look at the full assemblage in the slideshow below.

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