MILAN – United Colors of Benetton stands for democratic fashion, believes creative director Andrea Incontri, who has no intention of changing this philosophy.
“I would like to reach as many people as possible, hoping that our products will help them feel good, and that to me means being sustainable,” Incontri said before his first show on the runway for the brand, which will be held on Sunday.
Incontri grew up with Benetton and understands its social importance, said chief executive Massimo Renon. “Andrea is Italian and is aware of the history of the brand, and these were key elements in our choice to appoint him to the role,” he explained.
He claims that a brand such as Benetton should have a creative director because “the product is fundamental, but it also needs a complete, comprehensive communication and a presence of the line in social media”.
Incontri, he said, “had a clear vision from Day One. His fashion will never be too busy, I’m sure he will be able to expand our customer base.”
Benetton was a pioneer in embracing inclusion and diversity and Incontri believes that “simplifying is harder but more fulfilling.”
The designer was named to the top creative role in July, responsible for the men’s and women’s collections for the brand and succeeding Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, who was named artistic director in October 2018.
Incontri was men’s creative director of Tod’s for five years until 2019.
An architecture graduate from Politecnico di Milano, who launched his eponymous brand in 2009, he won the men’s edition of Who Is on Next? talent search in 2010 in the accessories category. The designer quickly expanded his label into menswear, offering collections with attention to detail and the use of high-end materials.
In 2012 he added a women’s collection, which made its debut as part of the official Camera Nazionale della Moda fashion week schedule in February 2013.
Knitwear, Benetton’s core business, will remain a focus, as will color – another facet of the brand’s signature, Incontri said. The designer is envisioning an all-gender and “easy-to-wear” wardrobe, but he’ll also be introducing “light and printed, feminine dresses – also cut.”
Leveraging his expertise in accessories, he plans to expand this category at Benetton and will introduce a new bag, shoe style and belt that will be part of the show and immediately in store.
“We are not using animal skins for these accessories, as we are introducing a new sustainable material instead.”
Incontri will unveil the spring coed collection at one of Benetton’s flagship stores in Milan, on the busy Corso Buenos Aires shopping street. The store is spread over 10,800 square meters and he has renovated it.