MILAN — United Colors of Benetton stands for democratic fashion, believes creative director Andrea Incontri, who has no intention of changing that philosophy.
“I want to reach as many people as possible in the hope that our products will make them feel good, and for me that means being sustainable,” Incontri said ahead of his first runway show for the brand, which will be held on Sunday.
“Incontri grew up with Benetton and understands its social relevance,” said CEO Massimo Renon. “Andrea is Italian and knows the history of the brand very well and these were key elements in our decision to tap him for the role,” he explained.
He claims that a brand like Benetton needs to have a creative director because “the product is fundamental, but it also needs well-rounded, comprehensive communication and a coordinated social media presence.”
Incontri, he said, “had a clear vision from day one. His fashion will never be overly fussy, I’m sure he will be able to expand our customer base.”
Benetton was a pioneer in promoting inclusion and diversity, and Incontri believes that “simplifying is harder, but more fulfilling”.
The designer was appointed to the top creative position in July, responsible for the brand’s men’s and women’s collections and succeeding Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, who was appointed artistic director in October 2018.
Incontri was the 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 the 2010 Who Is On Next? Talent Search in the accessories category. The designer quickly expanded his label to menswear, delivering collections with attention to detail and the use of quality materials.
In 2012 he added a women’s collection that debuted in February 2013 as part of the Camera Nazionale della Moda’s official fashion week.
Knitwear, Benetton’s core business, remains a focus, as does color – another distinctive aspect of the brand, Incontri said. The designer thinks of a cross-gender and “easy to wear” wardrobe, but also presents “light and printed, feminine dresses – also cropped”.
Leveraging his expertise in accessories, he plans to expand this category at Benetton, introducing a new handbag, shoe model and belt that will be part of the show and will be available in store immediately.
“We are not using animal leather for these accessories, but are introducing a new sustainable material instead.”
Incontri will unveil the spring coed collection in one of Benetton’s main Milan stores on the busy shopping street of Corso Buenos Aires. The store spans 10,800 square feet and he had it remodeled.