Obituaries

Gilberto Benetton, a founder of fashion brand, dies at 77

FILE -- OBIT - In this June 7, 1999 file photo, Gilberto Benetton attends the inauguration of the first Italian Burger King store in Milan, Italy. Gilberto Benetton, co-founder of the Benetton Group, died Monday, Oct. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Maki Galimberti, file)
Maki Galimberti/Associated Press/File
Gilberto Benetton attends the inauguration of the first Italian Burger King store in Milan, Italy, in June 1999.

MILAN — Gilberto Benetton, one of the four founding siblings of the iconic Benetton fashion brand known as much for its provocative ad campaigns as its colorful knitwear, died Monday evening at age 77, his family announced.

The family said Mr. Benetton died at his home in the northern city of Treviso, near where the fashion company is based.

Mr. Benetton, along with siblings Carlo, Luciano, and Giuliana, founded Benetton as knitwear company in 1965, transforming it into a global brand that sustained steady growth through the 1990s, only to suffer the competition from fast-fashion in the 2000s. The firm has gone through multiple relaunches and management changes in the last decade.

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Benetton’s ad campaigns have challenged racial, religious, and gender stereotypes, often courting controversy. Some of the most provocative included an image of Pope Benedict XVI kissing an imam, while humanitarian groups protested earlier this year against an ad that contained photographs of migrant rescues.