Carlo Benetton, co-creator of fashion brand known for controversial ads, dies at 74


Carlo Benetton, co-founder of the international fashion brand United Colors of Benetton, which was known for a series of controversial ads, died Tuesday at age 74 at his home in northern Italy.

Benetton was the youngest of four siblings who founded the company in northeast Italy in 1965, Agence France-Presse reported.

The company was known for its signature wool jumpers, but became more broadly known following a series of controversial ads by Italian photographer Oliviero Toscan that ran between 1982 and 2000, the outlet reported.

In one such ad from 1989, an African-American woman was pictured breastfeeding a white baby, according to the outlet.

The company’s sales have stalled in recent years, prompting 83-year-old Luciano Benetton to come out of retirement and once again oversee operations, AFP reported.

The company also faced obstacles due to an overvalued Italian currency during the 1990s, as well as a lack of interest in its signature sweaters, Forbes reported.

In a 2017 interview, Luciano Benetton called the company’s decline an “an intolerable pain” and said he plans to place a renewed focus on what made the brand successful in the first place, the outlet reported.

As of July 2018, Carlo Bennetton’s net worth exceeded $3 billion, according to Forbes.

He is survived by his four children. 



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