Benetton’s artistic director Jean-Charles de Castelbajac named the coed fall collection “Blended Future,” believing that, going forward, “everything will be blended.” The designer mused that fashion, in particular, will be “blended, into reality, sustainability, affordability and creativity.”

For the time being, he blended themes and inspirations that have marked his career and his life into a fun and colorful collection. “This is my universe, Keith [Haring] was my friend, we were so close,” he said, pointing to a group of sweaters reproducing the artist’s unmistakable drawings. “With Disney I worked in 1981, I put cartoons when I was at Iceberg,” he said in front of mannequins wearing a Bambi T-shirt over a miniskirt and hose with an animalier print.

He covered the front of a puffer with cute teddy bears, revisiting his storied teddy bear coat, and that was worn over baggy camouflage pants. “I wasn’t allowed to have a teddy bear in boarding school so this is my revenge,” he said with a chuckle. “You always need irony.” A group of skateboarders wearing his designs were tapped for a performance, driving home the point that the company is eyeing a younger customer.

WWD CRITIQUE: “I am driving a fantastic rainbow machine,” said de Castelbajac, who is clearly in sync with Benetton and is succeeding in rejuvenating the brand with affordable yet creative looks.


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