It takes a lot to get me really excited about men’s fashion. Yeah, sure, the high street have some great finds now and again, and yes, there is many a designer piece I can only dream of owning (Dries van Noten everything and this Issey Miyake coat please), but there is very little in between.
As collaborations go, H&M’s with Versace and Margiela have been some of my favourites – I think I actually bought the lot. And ANYTHING by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac is a winner for me. When the French designer closed his London store on Conduit Street, it was a sad day. I used to go in all the time, just for a mooch, on the odd occasion for a purchase, and it always made me smile. When I found House of Liza in Hoxton and their vintage collection, it was a good day (also available on Farfetch).
In fact, I’ve written a lot about de Castelbajac since this blog began – see all articles here.
Any way, when Benetton announced that de Castelbajac was named Creative Director, I was finally excited again. Here is a fashion brand that really has been laying dormant in the world of collaborations and excitement for a while now, and all of sudden catapulting itself back into the limelight. Known for its rainbow colours – who DIDN’T own something with that iconic logo when they were younger? – Benetton and de Castelbajac are really the perfect partnership. Earlier this year, the brand and its new creative lead held a huge fashion show in Milan, actually on the day Karl Lagerfeld died, that was jam packed full of colour, bold prints and JCDC’s signature sense of fun – Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny et al. I was ready to buy it all.
And that I did. Well, not all, but some of the stand out pieces from the catwalk. There’s lots more to be had that I presume will go into stores/online in the coming months. What de Castelbajac has done here is turn around the 60s brand that needed serious modernisation. He’s a bloody genius if you ask me! (P.S. he has just done a collab with swim brand Vilebrequin too)
See why I love it all? There’s SO MUCH GOODNESS in this collection! Benetton is well and truly back, thanks to my main fashion squeeze, JC de Castelbajac.
In a backstage interview after this debut show, Castelbajac says: “The DNA of Benetton and mine have many similarities. The knitwear was my expertise with Iceberg in the 1980s, and the colour is something we both have in common. This meeting between us is happening at the right moment, too, because this idea that desirable things can be of good quality and be affordable to many people is very interesting now…Benetton has been sleeping a little bit. But it has all this sleeping potential. And its base is very strong.”
This is EXACTLY what I mean by fashion, real fashion, being affordable to be people, not just those with lots of dosh. And yes, I know some of this stuff isn’t the cheapest, but it’s not designer prices AND it’s amazing quality.
So, there you have it!