BENETTON’S NEW COLORS: United Colors of Benetton is planning its first runway show with the artistic direction of fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, who joined the Italian company in October. The show, to be held on Feb. 19, will kick off Milan Fashion Week, which is slated to end on Feb. 25.

The arrival of de Castelbajac, who is in charge of both the men’s and women’s collections, is a new role for the company,  and one hailed as a major step for the label, following the return of Luciano Benetton as chairman of the group in January last year.

De Castelbajac first launched his brand Ko & Co with his mother Jeanne-Blanche de Castelbajac in 1968 in Limoges. The designer inspired trends such as the “anti-fashion” movement and the alternative use of objects such as rags and sponges to decorate garments.

In 1974, he cofounded Iceberg, and in 1978, he launched the Jean-Charles de Castelbajac brand, which he left in 2016. Over the years, he has also collaborated with Max Mara, Ellesse, Courrèges, Rossignol and Le Coq Sportif. Blending punk and pop references, his style dovetails with Benetton’s use of strong colors and a whimsical and irreverent touch.