Benetton's Ken F1 suit

In 1991 Barbie and Bennetton teamed up to create a memorable line in which a Ken's F1 team outfit could not be lacking with its labels stamped imitating those of the sponsors with Benetton's name or initials on them instead of the signatures that the pilots wore in the races.

Those who started out buying a knitting machine by weight and making colorful sweaters had created an empire rich enough to sponsor a team and then buy it.

They sponsored Tyrrell, Alfa Romeo and after that Toleman, which they bought in 1985 counting among their ranks with such prestigious drivers as Johnny Herbert or Michael Schumacher responsible for almost all Benetton victories between the late 80s and early 90s and managers as Flavio Briatore.

At the turn of the millennium the team was sold to Renault, perhaps another sign that Benetton's nineties splendor period had ended but with its colorful clothes, its hymn to diversity and its controversial advertising campaigns with Oliviero Toscani at the head they converted the company in an icon of the time and Mattel immortalized that moment in its Barbie line designed by Kitty Black Perkins and the Benetton design team in Milan.

The models of the Barbie line, apart from the F1 suit, did not immortalize any specific design of the firm, rather they focused on the spirit of Benetton being reflected in their dolls during two lines, so diversity could not be lacking among its ranks and included Christie, Teresa, Kira and Ken as well as Barbie, of course, who wore a yellow sweater in both lines. Could this yellow sweater be a nod to the one who started it all?

"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.

by The Barbiest