Diversity and equality are themes at the centre of the arresting image, which doesn’t feature a single stitch
The new United Colors of Benetton advertising campaign has launched, once again the result of the fashion brand’s collaboration with Oliviero Toscani. The famous photographer returned to work with the Venetian group last autumn, requested by co-founder Luciano Benetton to relaunch the brand.
‘Nudi Come’ (‘Naked, Just Like’) is the name of the whole Benetton campaign for the autumn-winter 2018 season, starting with a subject designed to summarise the values of the brand. Nudi Come, explains the company’s attitudes describing group of men and women of different ethnicities, naked and embracing each other. The photograph and video shot by Oliviero Toscani reflect the founding values of Benetton: diversity, equality and an idea of the future that is more urgent than ever.
Starting from the first week of August, photos and videos will be planned directly by the company on billboards, newspapers and periodicals (online and offline) and on the brand's social channels.
Benetton accompanied the photo with a statement on its website:
“Naked, just like Saint Francis, who cast off the clothes and riches of the devil, and naked, just like his creatures in his Canticle of the Creatures: “Praised be You, my Lord… for our sister mother earth” and for these new creatures of the Future City that not even Giotto could foresee or depict. They are no longer creatures from suffering cities of machines and cement, steel and dust. Here we have nine unique, yet identical examples of this humanity that will soon nail the old world to its disheartening smell of decomposition and junk. With shining pupils of rainbow light, and colored skins that mix, these nine children of ours are brother Sun and sister Moon, finally embracing and confused: young creatures of fertile rock, of soft stone who can be relied upon. Thanks to them colors will become innocent again: no more black witch offering the poisoned red apple to the snow-white girl. No more race war but the ethnic miracle with its wealth of familiar echoes, now at peace. Maybe the dark skin here is also from the Mount Sinai Bedouin, there are traces of Asia even in the eyebrows; and perhaps the light blue eyes have a Swiss chill to them, whereas the blue black eyes have the warmth of Greece, the mother of Europe, and maybe there is Somali Ethiopia in the slim, dark nose; I see imperial memories in silken hair and tribal hints in untameable curls, a touch of perfumed Italy in long eyelashes…there is even a Cuban rhythm in the image, which, it’s true, is motionless, yet the creatures seem to move in a riffling canticle; moving, touching, clutching, with flashes of Africa and China in the reds and yellows of creative painting. This is a photo of the metamorphoses that are typical of imperial civilizations, of Augustan Rome, Presidential America, Globalization where everything passes into something else, contaminates and then mutates into its opposite. In this image there really is Michael Jackson who whitened black and we have the evolution of the Lumumbas, the Senghors and the Frantz Fanons, but also the Lenins and the Lin Biaos, there is a revolution which becomes con-fusion as it removes the undeniable identity of the East and West and confuses them, there is the Zoroastrian peacock which resembles the Cross of Rome, Ramadan which becomes an Easter banquet, camel milk which transforms into vine juice, the burka becomes transparent on Venus’s body, and there is Fatima, Mohammed’s daughter, who now has the features of Mary, the mother of Christ. Against civil war, against the mafia and urban violence of identity, against ferocious ethnic conflict, against religious wars and fault line wars, against terrorism and against all forms of resurgent racism there is this joyous con-fusion as a value, the Canticle of the Creatures which reaches the sky and humbles the World.”
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