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What went down at United Colors of Benetton’s big London bash

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The exclusive event celebrated Jean-Charles de Castelbajac’s vibrant new capsule collection, with Vivienne Westwood, Campbell Addy, and Wilson Oryema among guests

Ciao London! United Colors of Benetton, the global brand known for its chic Italian silhouettes, subversive ad campaigns, riotous colour palette threw a rambunctious party last night in London. The event, at the brand’s flagship store on Oxford Street, celebrated the exciting new capsule collection by designer, artist, and all-round fashion legend Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, styled in a striking campaign by Dazed’s own fashion director, Imruh Asha.

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In Love We Trust, my new capsule for United Colors of Benetton, is dedicated to people who believe that poetry, colours, and creativity can participate to change the world,” the designer said of the collection.

Known by peers and pals as JCDC, his In Love We Trust collection release brought the icons and creative industry new gen out to play – from Vivienne Westwood to La Roux and Chet Lo. The guests gathered in resistance to the night’s dropping temperatures and threats of snow, bringing the heat in store. Here’s what went down.

A CORNER OF OXFORD STREET WENT TECHNICOLOUR

The party took place at United Colors of Benetton’s flagship London store, with de Castlebajac’s rainbow-hued collection adorning the walls. Guests raised a glass to JCDC and enjoyed cocktails from CÎROC Vodka, including a Cucumber Collins and a CÎROC Pomegranate Spritz. Sweet and refreshing to compound the night’s vibe.

THE PARTY CELEBRATED A FASHION LEGEND

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac was first tapped by the United Colors of Benetton as artistic director in 2018. The French designer, whose clothes have been worn by everyone from Beyoncé to Madonna, has seen his relationship with the vibrant Italian label blossom over the years, his own style intersecting with Benetton’s fearless use of colour and playful twists on chic staples. A mighty career that dovetails through fashion, painting, and art, he has long been inspired by surrealism and colour, and was brought to street art by the enduring icon Keith Haring. This latest collection speaks to all those most joyous influences, and played out in the night’s high energy celebrations.

THE COLLECTION IS A JOYFUL, HOPEFUL MESSAGE FOR THE FUTURE

“This is the first time that the artist Castelbajac meets the designer Jean-Charles in the making of a Benetton collection,” the designer shared, explaining that In Love We Trust acts as a “renaissance” and personally “ground-breaking capsule”.

“It is an ode to love. It is a collection that counts as a kind of renaissance, which wants to give hope,” he continues. “I’ve called it In Love We Trust, paraphrasing the national motto of the United States, ‘In God We Trust’. I love to play with words and with fashion, because fashion is the expression of a thousand words.”

“[The collection] is an ode to love. It counts as a kind of renaissance, which wants to give hope. I’ve called it In Love We Trust, paraphrasing the national motto of the United States, ‘In God We Trust’. I love to play with words and with fashion, because fashion is the expression of a thousand words” – Jean-Charles de Castelbajac

As United Colors of Benetton is famous for its elevated basics, the collection levels up staple pieces with the JCDC touch. A personal fave is the ‘LOVE’ slogan sweater, created with a unique knitting technique. His signature style punctuates the collection with camo and tone-on-tone colour palettes, printed denim, and rubberised fabric. Encapsulating a cross-disciplinary career, the collection was shot with Osma Harvilahti and Dazed fashion director Imruh Asha at Paris’ Centre Pompidou.

“Basically, I have revisited and revolutionised all the canons of classic imagery, from chic outerwear and camouflage all the way to the American flag,” he says. “This capsule is dedicated to today’s families – to all of them, without exception. My idea is that of a totally modern, absolutely contemporary family. ‘Family’ for me today means participating in a collective, emotive, and spiritual group.” Very right – the party’s family vibe was palpable.

JJESS AND CKTRL BROUGHT THE VIBES WITH SZA EDITS AND VYBZ KARTEL BANGERS

With Jjess and cktrl on the decks, the crowd got down. London’s Jjess has been gearing up on the festival circuit, with a recent slot at Strawberries and Creem festival, and is regularly on the airwaves for Foundation FM dropping amapiano edits and Jersey club bangers. Dazed 100er and London-based musician cktrl creates slick, contemporary classical music with sizzling electronic beats, and his signature saxophone – Zero was last summer’s hit, a glorious follow-up to 2020’s celebrated Robyn EP. Tapped by Virgil Abloh and Bianca Saunders, he also appeared on Beyoncé’s Black is King

Dressed in head to toe United Colors of Benetton, they each brought the heat with two fire sets. SZA edits, Vybz Kartel classics, and a jaunt through Destiny’s Child were just some of the highlights. And JCDC made sure to dance among the voguing and wining to everyone’s delight. Check Instagram Stories this morning and you’re likely to get a spot.

A NEW GEN OF CREATIVES GOT DOWN WITH INDUSTRY ICONS

Vivenne Westwood casually clomped into the store in some horse print clogs to celebrate her peer and pal. The crowd was a hodge-podge of the city’s most exciting emerging artists, designers, and creatives, as well as industry icons and peers of Jean-Charles. From former Dazed 100ers and future-facing designers du jour Chet Lo and Michaela Stark, to Akinola Davies, Wilson Oryema, and La Roux, Campbell Addy, Gareth Wrighton, and Jawara Alleyne were all there. CÎROC cocktails were raised to the sky for a dance and toast to the smiling host. Guests also walked away into the night with a personal gift of a JCDC rainbow printed scarf with the collection’s striking pattern – which was handy, given all that snow.