United Colours of Benetton x Pop Culture

Pop culture is as big as it has never been today! Also, in the era of Internet and social media, the brands take advantage of people’s “obsessions” of celebrities or cultural phenomena to market products as it reaches a wider audience! Pop culture has become the innovative method of fashion branding and it works well! However, some brands also choose to address the pop cultural issues through branding.

United Colors of Benetton has always been committed in the society and following the trends of pop culture to draw attention to and engage with the potential customer. They have started with groundbreaking advertising in the 80s highlighting the pop cultural problem of racism across the world!

The brand kept on addressing the pop cultural issues after hiring the photographer Oliviero Toscani who created shocking ads letting the brand to show its open-mindedness. Here are some of them:


Image 4 An ad promoting empowerment of women


Image 8 An ad fighting the world hunger with WTP, a problem in the developing countries brought to the attention of popular culture


  1. Alistgator, (2012). HIV and safe sex. [image] Available at: http://www.alistgator.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/benetton-ad-06.jpg [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].
  2. Alistgator. (2012). 10 Most Controversial United Colors of Benetton Ads. [online] Available at: http://www.alistgator.com/top-ten-controversial-united-colors-of-benetton-ads/ [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].
  3. madeinitaly-e, (2016). United Colors of Benetton. [image] Available at: http://www.madeinitaly-e.net/Content/ProductImages/splash/benetton-united-color-1.jpg [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].
  4. McGrath, L. (2013). Top 5 Brands That Changed Pop Culture. [online] Highsnobiety. Available at: http://www.highsnobiety.com/2013/02/11/brands-that-changed-pop-culture-and-advertising-forever/ [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].
  5. Nathu, A. (2013). Tutti i colori del mondo. [image] Available at: https://hideoutforfashion.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/032df-33_1984_07.jpg [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].
  6. Pub en stock, (2012). Bosnian War. [image] Available at: http://www.pubenstock.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Benetton-1994Bosniaque.jpg [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].
  7. Pub en stock, (2012). Empowerment of women. [image] Available at: http://www.pubenstock.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Benetton-1989-BebeSein.jpg [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].
  8. Pub en stock, (2012). Food for life. [image] Available at: http://www.pubenstock.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Benetton-1996-foodForLife1.jpg [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].
  9. Pub en stock, (2012). Homosexuality and adoption. [image] Available at: http://www.pubenstock.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Benetton-1990-FemmesEnfant.jpg [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].
  10. Pub en stock, (2012). USA/USSR 1985. [image] Available at: http://www.pubenstock.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Benetton-1985.jpg [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].
  11. United Colors of Benetton. (2017). Group history. [online] Available at: http://www.benettongroup.com/the-group/profile/group-history/ [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].
  12. United Colors of Benetton. (2017). Social commitment. [online] Available at: https://world.benetton.com/identity/social-commitment/ [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].
  13. United Colors of Benetton. (2017). The group. [online] Available at: http://www.benettongroup.com/the-group/ [Accessed 3 Mar. 2017].

Yves Saint Laurent’s Mondrian Dress

Art has become a timeless influence on fashion long time ago already. One of the art pieces from the 30s that has inspired Yves Saint Laurent’s work is the painting done by Piet Mondrian! The abstract geometrical figures of primary and white colours separated by black vertical and horizontal lines used in the dress design was typical to the Dutch movement De Stijl which Mondrian was part of. The artwork has become a brand on its own.

The collection of A-line dresses has not only become iconic for the Western-then-on-trend silhouette and one of YSL’s classics but also brought the importance of Mondrian’s work in the mid-60s and also the artwork itself back to life!

The dresses were made of individual pieces of wool which were put together in a way to make all the seams invisible creating the structure of the dress a piece of art.

The Mondrian dress, which has become famous and trendy in the mid-60s, has made it to the cover of the French Vogue!


Image 3 French Vogue

The collection has also been featured in other fashion magazines at the time and has been copied by high street in the 60s but also nowadays and by individuals! The dress has also appeared in the recent film about Yves Saint Laurent.




  1. Barnebys, (2015). French Vogue. [image] Available at: https://www.barnebys.co.uk/blog/article/2880/ [Accessed 27 Feb. 2017].
  2. Cohn, H. (2013). The 50 Best Artist Collaborations in Fashion. [online] Complex. Available at: http://au.complex.com/style/2013/04/the-50-best-artist-collaborations-in-fashion/yves-saint-laurent-x-piet-mondrian [Accessed 27 Feb. 2017].
  3. Fisher, H. (2015). Yves Saint Laurent & Art – The Mondrian Collection. [online] Barnebys. Available at: https://www.barnebys.co.uk/blog/article/2880/ [Accessed 27 Feb. 2017].
  4. Met Museum, (n.d.). The Mondrian dress. [image] Available at: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/C.I.69.23/ [Accessed 27 Feb. 2017].
  5. Met Museum. (n.d.). Dress. [online] Available at: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/C.I.69.23/ [Accessed 27 Feb. 2017].
  6. Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films, (2014). Yves Saint Laurent Movie CLIP – Mondrian (2014) – Pierre Niney Biopic HD. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XSRuNPPN64#action=share [Accessed 27 Feb. 2017].
  7. Pinterest, (n.d.). YSL and Piet Mondrian. [image] Available at: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/6f/bb/74/6fbb74fb0791c2fcea64def1547b8556.jpg [Accessed 27 Feb. 2017].
  8. Rijksmuseum. (2011). Mondrian dress, Yves Saint Laurent, 1965. [online] Available at: https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/collection/BK-2011-58 [Accessed 27 Feb. 2017].
  9. V&A. (n.d.). The Mondrian Collection. [online] Available at: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O75489/the-mondrian-collection-cocktail-dress-saint-laurent-yves/ [Accessed 27 Feb. 2017].

Alexander Wang x H&M 2014

Fashion collaborations become more popular nowadays as brands try to find new ways to attract customers and the customers are more receptive to this approach, making it a common strategy for brands. Many brands want to increase the brand exposure, increase the product offerings and/or introduce innovation. Some of the collaborations are Alexa Chung x M&S, Stella McCartney x Adidas, Apple x Hermès.

One brand that gets involved in collaborations with designers at least once a year and bring together the mass market of the high street with the high-end is H&M. And they have been doing that since 2004! Alexander Wang x H&M 2014 was ranked #4 in Vogue and was the first collaboration with an American designer for H&M.

Image 4 Alexander Wang x H&M

Functional sportswear was an inspiration for the collection as can be seen from the ad above. It was dominated by dark colours and the use of neoprene which allowed the collection to be on trend for the season and thus have a great response from the customers. The clothing line, while having luxurious and exclusive feeling for the customers, was appealing to the fashion conscious mass market due to the lower price points which drove the sales and allowed H&M x Wang to be sold out within few hours! The collaboration made it possible for Wang to spread its aesthetics, increase brand awareness and reach more customers.

The high publicity like lookbooks and the show also made the collaboration successful for both brands. It was also announced at Coachella!



  1. Adidas, (2016). Stella McCartney. [image] Available at: http://www.adidas.co.uk/adidas_by_stella_mccartney [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017]
  2. Apple, (2016). Apple Watch Hermès. [image] Available at: http://www.apple.com/apple-watch-hermes/ [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017]
  3. Boamah, M. (2014). Alexander Wang x H&M – H&M. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0DS7TQh8R8 [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017]
  4. Bullough, J. (n.d.). Open Source Fashion. [online] 4 BENEFITS OF FASHION BRAND COLLABORATION. Available at: http://os-fashion.com/magazine/4-benefits-fashion-brand-collaboration/ [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017]
  5. Codinha, A. (2014). Exclusive: Alexander Wang’s Collection for H&M Revealed in Full!. [online] Vogue. Available at: http://www.vogue.com/article/alexander-wang-hm-collaboration [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017]
  6. Cope, R. (2016). Alexander Wang – November 2014. [image] Available at: http://www.harpersbazaar.co.uk/fashion/fashion-news/news/g23095/hms-best-designer-collaborations/?slide=13 [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017]
  7. Cope, R. (2016). H&M’S BEST DESIGNER COLLABORATIONS. [online] Harper’s Bazaar. Available at: http://www.harpersbazaar.co.uk/fashion/fashion-news/news/g23095/hms-best-designer-collaborations/?slide=13 [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017]
  8. Leach, A. (2015). A Brief History of H&M’s Biggest Collaborations. [Blog] Highsnobiety. Available at: http://www.highsnobiety.com/2015/11/04/h-m-collaborations/ [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017]
  9. Marks and Spencer, (2016). M&S & Alexa Chung. [image] Available at: http://www.marksandspencer.com/s/women/alexa-chung [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017]
  10. Scharf, C. (2012). Trend Reports. [online] The Benefits of Brand Collaboration. Available at: http://www.trendreports.com/article/brand-collaboration [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017]
  11. Scharf, C. (2013). Trend Reports. [online] 4 Advantages of Successful Brand Collaborations. Available at: http://www.trendreports.com/article/brand-collaborations [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017]
  12. Vogue France, (n.d.). Vogue France. [online] Alexander Wang x H&M. Available at: http://en.vogue.fr/fashion-shows/defile/fall-winter-2014-2015-new-york-alexander-wang-x-hm/9677#defile-13135 [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017]
  13. Yotka, S. (2016). Every H&M Fashion Collaboration, Ranked. [online] Vogue. Available at: http://www.vogue.com/article/hm-designer-collaborations-ranked [Accessed 20 Feb. 2017]