“My sister Giuliana made sweaters for a shop in our area. One day, she gave me a sweater of a very bright yellow color. Well, everyone wanted it. They were tired of the sad and dull colors of the time. So I said: Come on, let's try, you Giuliana create and I sell. We bought an old machine that did the lines to the fishnet stockings. They sold it to the weight of the iron. We transformed it. Since then, nobody has stopped us." Luciano Benetton.
Could Barbie's yellow sweaters be a nod to those beginnings? All the characters in the line wore wonderful and colorful garments and maybe both in the Benetton line (1990) and in the Shopping line (1991) they wanted to evoke this first yellow sweater, which gave way to the creation of "Benetton" in 1965.
Kitty Black Perkins (Black Barbie, Shani, Day to Night) was the designer of the project and she had to go to Milan to design with the Benetton team a line of clothes that represented the spirit of the brand and suited Barbie too.
But we can't talk about Benetton without talking about their publicist and photographer Oliviero Toscani who created United Colors of Benetton and converted Benetton in one of the most renowned companies in the 80s. His campaigns with diverse people captivated the world but he did shocking campaigns for he was the master of provocation.
Among his most controverted campaigns we find multicolor condoms, a baby with his cord still attached, the AIDS sick journalist David Kirby dying, a priest kissing a nun or a mafia assassination.
"I have found out that advertising is the richest and most powerful medium existing today, so I feel responsible to do more than to say, 'Our sweater is pretty" Toscani, New York Times
But this boundaries made Benetton to break with him two times the last one for good. Without the Benetton family there would be no company but without Toscani, Benetton wouldn't have become that company so big to be able to sponsor a formula 1 team and to buy it later.
At the end Barbie reflected the Benetton spirit of that moment and maybe the yellow sweaters of Barbie did made a tribute to a company that became great.