>> As part of United Colors of Benetton’s bid to re-affirm its roots, they’ve just launched the third drop of their Collection of Us, themed around the Carnival. It’s an abstracted take on this Venetian tradition though, as an array of colours are united (to state the obvious) in a collection of premium intarsia knitwear pieces.
In true Benetton marketing tradition though, the colours that Benetton are referring to aren’t just the bright hues in geometric knitted patterns, but the skin tones of different ethnicities, which features in their new ‘Face of the City’ campaign. London, New York, Tokyo, Paris, Milan and Berlin are each represented with a digitally generated algorithmic composite “model”, combining all of the ethnicities of each city in the correct proportions according to population data
Benetton colour block polo dress and optical print tee worn with Sibling skirt and Nicholas Kirkwood slippers, Benetton optical print tee worn with C/MEO Collective skirt and top and Mother of Pearl sandals
Strangely, save for Tokyo, the faces have all emerged looking fairly similar, and it’s only when you look up close can you see subtle differences. It would be interesting to see what physical ambassadors, Benetton chose to go into this algorithm but I suppose the point is to reflect the term “melting pot”, often used to describe cosmopolitan multi-cultural cities. Quite literally, one city’s face segues into the other seamlessly. It’s certainly an alternative take on diversity, as the campaign points out, not the differences but the similarities that we share, asserting a feel-good idea that colour is merely skin-deep. As a contrasting foil, Benetton did also produce a more conventional ad campaign featuring diverse models wearing these Carnival knitwear pieces.
Ethnic diversity aside, colour in all its exuberant variety is represented in the collection and again, makes for an upbeat affirmation of what Benetton do best.