UNITED COLORS OF BENETTON Spring/Summer Collection 2013
For Spring/Summer 2013, United Colors of Benetton interprets the major moods of the season, looking at once to channel both ends of the bifurcated trend spectrum—the explosion of print together with a return to a streamlined, timeless chic. Underpinning the disparate moods is a marked return to femininity for women and the new menswear mode of “formal-casual” couched in the brand’s DNA of color. Where neutrals infiltrate the collection, they are offset by the incorporation of bright palettes, including tactile geometric and floral prints, allowing for the full spectrum of self-expression through personal style.
Womenswear sees a strong focus on the feminine, presenting a vast array of dresses and skirts of all shapes harmonizing with spring’s return to a more ladylike ethos. On the one hand, after seasons of sartorial excess, simplicity reigns supreme: basic is now fashion. Solid color garments in shades of green and blue are punctuated with fuchsia and purple and worked into easy, everyday pieces. On the other hand, the message of mix and match patterns registers loud and clear with Benetton’s translation of the prints seen on the runway by a tempered, sophisticated hand. Inspirations ethnic and geometric are worked into all-over patterns, and are joined later in the season by a floral bloom. Print is absorbed into signature knitwear, where a richness of pattern nuances texture—the other buzzword of the season. PIN UP denim returns in a bright assortment of colorful washes in an everyday skinny shape.
The collection is conceived in three primary narratives:
Art Folk – The first story looks to the arts, architecture and design. Cuts are clean and patterns graphic, while the palette espouses the interplay of contrast: white meeting black colliding with red, fuchsia and violet. Silhouettes are essential and precise, materials compact. In tune with the new minimalism, they are tailored yet relaxed. All-over prints create a highly graphic effect, referencing the geometry and vibrancy of pop and street art, respectively. Jackets are crafted from cotton linen or dyed poplin and matched with long, lean trousers, either solid or in printed stretch satin jacquard, for a refreshed look that is classically urban chic.
Global Folk – An updated take on tribal, underscored by a bohemian nonchalance, the Benetton woman sets out on a cultural voyage for spring. Traditional ethno-folk graphics from oversized Aztec to Japanese cherry blossoms are reinterpreted in a contemporary way. The story’s cotton base is dyed in the yarn or enzymatically treated for colors that recall the vitality of a Moroccan marketplace, offering up the rich dynamism of cinnamon, saffron and oregano, cyclamen, also offset by neutrals. Lightness characterizes the silhouettes, circle and pencil skirts, wide leg pleat-front trousers and full, voluminous sleeves of blouses. Natural materials such as linen, ramie, gauze and muslin share borders with ethnic jacquards and perforated satins, imbuing the mystique of faraway adventures.
Eco Folk – The final theme takes a cue from the harmony natural world, both in terms of easy-going aesthetic and fibers utilized. The mood is light and the palette sun-faded to reveal soft pastel blues that blend like a sunset with shades of salmon and yellow. Shapes are fluid, designed for comfort, without sacrificing femininity. Sweaters are crafted from rich yarn patterns in mélange tones, slightly oversized whilst chinos and pastel Pin Up skinny jeans lend an air of playful tomboy. Materials verge on the untreated—linen, gauze and muslin convey a bio sentiment balanced by gently fluttering viscose flutters.
For men, the collection looks to transverse sartorial norms to embrace the ethos of the new “relaxed” formal. Dressier elements collide with sportswear details, re-introducing tailoring into the younger generation’s everyday style repertoire. Cargo shorts are be paired with smart blazers and dress trousers can be worn with easy knits. A strong focus on washes in gradients of indigo and green unites the collection—stripes are more brushed than clean, for instance. With the new season comes a new easy yet still urbane approach to men’s dressing.
As with the womenswear, the men’s narrative is divided into three moods:
Art Folk – Once again, art, architecture and design serve as a starting point, with a focus on form meeting function under the guise of a conceptually artistic ethos. Stratified lines in asphalt and patterned stretch poplin register ultra-contemporary and unexpected bursts of sky blue and emerald green provide a hint of pop art. Shapes are nominal, but smart, such as classic trench coats or fitted double-breasted blazers and slim trousers in solid stokes of color. The epitome of casual urban elegance, there are pieces for both collectors and artists alike.
Global Folk – The Benetton man accompanies his lady on her ethnic travels for spring. His cultural journey, which begins in the Far East with rich accents of sand and sky blue, is narrated through the washes and treatments of his clothing: cold pigmenting, fusion effects, double dying, burn out and devoré. Flock jackets in lightweight nylon and coated canvas take him to Africa, where he adds in elements of ochre to brighten his look built on a strong collection of treated t-shirts and colored trousers. He comes at last to the Americas, where he takes a cowboy cue from faded denim shirts, mixing and matching his blues with urban anthracite and asphalt grey. Accompanying him on his journey is a selection of practical everyday bags: faux-leather bottomed rucksacks, thatched totes and sturdy canvas briefcases.
Eco Folk – As with the women’s, the Eco Folk theme for men celebrates his bond with nature articulated through a prevailing sense of lightness. Once again, fabric treatments play a crucial role as cottons, linens, lightweight gabardine and canvas are carefully died and graduated. As fluid as water itself, once again, variants of blue come into play, mixed and matched with neutrals and stronger browns, which round off a slight military feel conveyed by slim fitting cargo shorts and other “on-the-road” accents such as a faux leather jacket in indigo.