MILAN — There’s not a thread of clothing in Benetton’s fall 2018 campaign.

The Italian fashion group has chosen to forgo advertising its actual collection in favor of a message of inclusivity by showing a group of models of different ethnicities all stark naked, lined up and embracing, staring straight into the camera. Called Nudicome (nudi in Italian means naked), the campaign is the latest photographed by Oliviero Toscani, who returned to Benetton in November, tapped by Luciano Benetton.

After retiring in April 2012, the entrepreneur is back as executive president of Benetton Group with the goal to turn around the company after years of declining sales, and he has reignited the relation with Toscani after 17 years.

The two men famously collaborated for years on controversial ad campaigns in the Eighties and Nineties that shone a light on issues such as the death penalty, AIDS, racism and homosexuality.

The images are flanked by 30-second and three-minute videos, all bowing the first week of August on billboards, newspapers, magazines — on and off-line — and on the brand’s social media.

Benetton issued a long statement to accompany the photo, with a reference to Saint Francis. Here is a brief extract:

“Naked, just like Saint Francis, who cast off the clothes and riches of the devil, and naked, just like his creatures in his Canticle of the Creatures.…They are no longer creatures from suffering cities of machines and cement, steel and dust. Here we have nine unique yet identical examples of this humanity that will soon nail the old world to its disheartening smell of decomposition and junk. With shining pupils of rainbow light, and colored skins that mix, these nine children of ours are brother Sun and sister Moon, finally embracing and confused: young creatures of fertile rock, of soft stone who can be relied upon. Thanks to them colors will become innocent again: no more black witch offering the poisoned red apple to the snow-white girl. No more race war, but the ethnic miracle with its wealth of familiar echoes, now at peace.…”

The caption with the video states: “Against civil war, against the mafia and urban violence of identity, against ferocious ethnic conflict, against religious wars and fault line wars, against terrorism and against all forms of resurgent racism.”

So timely.

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