BENETTON is the story of an extraordinary family and the business they have built from humble origins to a skilfully orchestrated worldwide phenomenon. For no family and business arouse such controversy and embody so many apparently contradictory qualities. No other team name has such an ability to charm and shock, to subvert and yet preach conformism, to blend radicalism with capitalism, as Benetton. Behind the united colours and the seamless brand, there are also darker shades and looser threads. These include marginalised members of the family, aggrieved franchise holders and banks. This is a success story from the frontline of the retail company, where soft fabrics mix with the smell of high-octane petrol and Grand Prix motor racing, and coloured condoms combine with Catholicism and capitalism in their most red-blooded forms.
Jonathan Mantle is the author of bestselling biographies of Jeffrey Archer and Andrew Lloyd Webber and his revelatory book on Lloyd's of London FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS received international coverage.