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LEG A CY


WITH FLYING COLOURS


C


arlo Benetton, the youngest sibling behind the prolific ‘United Colors of Benetton’ fashion brand, died aged 74 at his home in the northern


Italian city of Treviso in July after a six month battle with cancer. At the time of his death, Forbes estimated


the net worth of Carlo Benetton at $3.3 billion. He is survived by his four children, Christian, Massimo, Andrea, and Leone. Carlo founded the Benetton Group in 1965


alongside his brothers, Luciano and Gilberto, and his sister Giuliana in Ponzano Veneto, a village in Italy’s northeast. Their colourful signature wool jumpers quickly conquered the hearts and closets of the world after its first international store in Paris opened in 1969, reaching New York by 1980. The family’s reputation exploded between


1982 and 2002—fuelled by a series of controversial ad campaigns by Italian photographer and Benetton art director Oliviero Toscani. A priest kissing a nun, a black woman


breastfeeding a white baby, a man with AIDS lying on his deathbed surrounded by family—the billboards provoked equal amounts of criticism and praise. Most did not feature clothes the group were selling but instead, as Toscani explained in an interview with Vogue earlier this year, showcased “how the company thinks, what it believes, what it represents”. The publicity paid off and the Benetton


group developed into an international powerhouse, eventually opening 5,000 stores across 120 countries. In this time, Carlo was in charge of procurement and acted as liaison between Benetton’s headquarters and its international units.


108 CAMPDENFB.COM However, the golden years for the brand


did not last and unable to compete with fast fashion giants including H&M and Zara, the brand suffered declining sales. Carlo left the board two years after it was delisted from the Milan Stock Exchange in 2013. At the end of 2017, Benetton posted a loss of


€180 million ($189 million) leading Luciano Benetton to come out of retirement to take charge of the company once more, having left in 2012. Away from the fashion brand, Carlo turned


his attention to Benetton’s parent company Edizione. It has become one of the Italy’s largest holding companies, with investments in sectors including infrastructure, catering, agriculture, and real estate. Last year, Edizione posted an annual return of $13.1 billion. Carlo presided over Edizione’s estates in


Argentina and one of Italy’s most important agricultural companies Maccarese SpA, which was purchased by Edizione in 1998. After his death, the General Confederation of Italian Agriculture said Benetton was a “farsighted, competent entrepreneur interested in the issues of diversification, innovation, sustainability, and traceability”.


ICON


Carlo Benetton (1943 – 2018)


Italian business leader and co-founder of Benetton Group


1943


CARLO BENETTON BORN IN TREVISO, ITALY ON 26 DECEMBER


1965


CARLO FOUNDS BENETTON GROUP WITH HIS THREE SIBLINGS IN ITALY


1969


THE BENETTON’S OPEN THEIR FIRST INTERNATIONAL STORE IN PARIS


1981


CARLO NAMED VICE PRESIDENT OF NEWLY FOUNDED INVESTMENT HOLDING COMPANY EDIZIONE HOLDINGS SPA


1982


AD CAMPAIGN COLLABORATION WITH OLIVIERO TOSCANI BEGINS


1986


THE BENETTON GROUP IS LISTED ON THE MILAN STOCK EXCHANGE


1998


CARLO BUYS AND PRESIDES OVER MACCARESE, ONE OF ITALY’S LARGEST FARMS


2003


BENETTON FAMILY ANNOUNCES IT WILL WITHDRAW FROM DIRECT


MANAGEMENT 2013


THE FOUR BENETTON SIBLINGS GIVE WAY TO THE NEXT GENERATION- ALESSANDRO, FRANCA, SABRINA AND CHRISTIAN BENETTON


2018


CARLO BENETTON DIES IN TREVISO ON 10 JULY


PHOTOGRAPHY: ALAMY


ISSUE 74 | 2018


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