Wednesday, August 25, 2010

From Benetton to Wines and Olive Oil

Only in Italy do you become famous, get rich and then create your own line of wines and olive oil. Oliviero Toscani has done just that.

He is best known for his controversial work for Benetton, a Veneto company from the Treviso area near Padua, including over 20 years of photos as part of the clothing manufacturer's advertising campaign. Some particularly memorable images for me growing up were a nun kissing a priest and close-ups of bloody death and slimy birth, featuring a newborn still attached to the umbilical cord. The billboards, magazine ads and COLORS magazine, which develops a journalistic aspect to the research, all ruffled many feathers and got millions of people talking about society's contemporary issues and problems.

Toscani was even responsible for founding Benetton's creative think-tank of young designers and artists from around the world who win residencies to work on-site at the company's compound space called Fabrica. The work produced there receives accolades across the art and design spheres as well as helping continue making innovative shop displays and ad campaigns for the mother company, United Colors of Benetton.

In recent years, Toscani has slowed down on his direct contributions to all-things Benetton. He's got a new project: he has chosen to produce and promote his own wine and olive oil collections named OT. As for the wine, it is colorfully labeled in separately yellow, cyan and magenta. By the way, those are the three colors used to create all printed material, of course with the addition of a fourth component, black. He may be making wine, but he's still a graphic designer and photographer at heart! And in fact, he is still doing his trade, but not with the big B. Go to La Sterpaia for that.

Another noted (clothing) designer who has a winery is Diesel brand apparel's founder Renzo Rosso. For my post about those wine and olive oil lines, click here. But that stuff's got the company's brand name on the label.

I have to admit I have never casually found either of these wines or olive oils in my giri around town, the region or Italy, but maybe one day I will actually get to taste them and see how they stack up to their founders' reputations. If you do first, let me know what you think. Grazie.


  1. Dear Irene,

    Nice to meet you and thanks for speaking about OT. If you are interested in tasting our wine, there's a search engine in our website ( that let people know where the bottles can be found. OT is just a single wine, but we thought it would have been nice to use 3 different labels: those are the primary colors, you are right, we are still photographers in our heart :-)

  2. Thank you for the clarification about the labels. As a matter of fact, I did your search on the website last week and was planning to visit a nearby restaurant, Osterie Moderne, to get a taste for myself.

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