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Jean-Charles de Castelbajac brings situationist style

Published
Feb 21, 2020
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Just when you were tempted to entirely write off Benetton, along comes Jean-Charles de Castelbajac to inject a great blast of situationist style into the knitwear giant.


Benetton - Fall/ Winter 2020 - Milan - Photo: Benetton Group



This was the French designer’s third collection for the Italian brand and his most potent statement so far. In effect, he riffed on lot of his own inner DNA and the result was a combative and kicky collection.
 
Jean-Charles built a skate-park inside Milan’s main Pelotas court and invented a local team of boarders to perform, several racing up great Keith Haring ramps in between a series of mini shows that lasted through Thursday. The graffiti artist was one of seven themes that de Castelbajac played with, including colorful camouflage, funky tartans and wacky leopard prints.

The co-ed cast marched across the giant colorful catwalk with deconstructed Haring print hacking jackets; long Clan Stewart puffers; tropical camouflage moon boots; suede Bambi jerkins; and even the Frenchman’s famous golden hippo-encrusted down jackets.
 
“I’ve been entrusted with a sleeping beauty and it has been a joy waking her up. There is an art to creating fashion at an affordable prices and I’m enjoying doing precisely that,” explained de Castelbajac.


Benetton - Fall/ Winter 2020 - Milan - Photo: Benetton Group


 
His arrival underlines the desire for change at Benetton, once the ruler of global fast fashion, especially in knitwear. This is far from a capsule show, since the entire collection will retail throughout the massive network of over 4,000 stores. Despite recent travails, the brand still turns over 1.3 billion euros.
 
“We hired Jean-Charles, quite frankly, to inject a fashion statement into our collections and he has certainly managed to do that,” explained Carlo Tunioli, Benetton’s general manager.

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