United Colors of Benetton Fall-Winter 2023-2024
For his second United Colors of Benetton runway show, Andrea Incontri adopts the concept of infinity to sum up the brand’s generational history and transform the linearity of time into an endless cycle of products, values and aesthetics.
Andrea Incontri’s Fall-Winter 2023-2024 is a synthesis of Benetton’s industrial heritage. A story that starts from the seriality of the product, adopting it as a tool for studying and replicating common reflections between different generations. The result is a continuous flow of apparel and accessories crossing a fully mirrored set – featuring a lift as its central totem – which is transformed into an identity multiplier. A means of travelling through time, space and individual ages, obsessively amplifying their individual facets.
Thus, an endless reiteration is created that sums up Benetton fashion in its archetypes, through the detailed analysis of two variables – wearability and material – to which is added what people actually wear. These are the principal elements of apparel and accessories whose everyday rigour is free from any stylistic hyperbole other than that of colour – establishing tension between the purity of the shapes and the richness of the decorations.
Incontri’s new collection begins with tailoring – jackets, trousers, coats in full, tonal colours, as well as in houndstooth check or tweed – and ends with workwear, particularly overalls, garment-dyed canvas skirts and jackets with contrasting stitching.
Research into materials sees eco-leather ‘move’ from accessories to clothing – such as the vinyl-effect biker jacket – and the introduction of eco-shearling for plush apparel and accessories. Thus, Benetton moves beyond its core of knitwear, masterfully created in a variety of stitches that includes stockinette stitch, cables, moss stitch, jacquard and maxi-crochet for a new concept skirt-top-cardigan ensemble, complete with matching headphones.
Colours and prints contrast with the clean, precise cuts, in a continuous variation that starts with black and white – fullness and void – and ends in grey and mirrored silver. Neutral colours serve as the extremes of an endless space of Benetton polychromy represented in the collection by seven saturated shades: ultramarine blue, primrose yellow, emerald green, hot pink, rosewood red, wisteria, orange flame.
Chromatic metamorphosis drives the evolution of the show, in a rhythm marked by symbols, geometric shapes and patterns whose serial repetition replicates the cycles of nature and industrial production. The organic and spontaneous nature of the former is represented by the show’s main figurative themes: the rabbit, the flower and the mushroom. These are then transformed into stylized designs for jacquard inserts, prints and patterns enlivened by opposing complementary colours which then combine in horizontal and regimental stripes, tending towards infinity, and in perfect circles that create increasingly smaller, psychedelic optical motifs, repeated until they take shape in a sphere associated with mouths and hands, in a three-dimensionality suspended as in a frame.
The show is completed by accessories that are glossy or mirrored – coloured or patterned bags, platforms, Mary Janes, loafers and combat boots in vinyl or eco-leather – or plush
– furry belts, bags and footwear. Enamelled costume jewellery reprises the subjects of the prints, adding small, brilliant details.
The show will be staged on February 25th at the Museo della Permanente during Milan Fashion Week.