Gilberto Benetton dies aged 77: founding sibling of the Italian fashion brand passes away three months after his brother

Sabrina Carder
Splash News

Gilberto Bennetton, co-founder of Italian fashion brand United Colors of Benetton, has died at 77.

The company announced the news on Monday evening in a brief statement: "Gilberto Benetton died at home today in Treviso [Italy] following a brief illness".

Gilberto was one of four siblings, who co-founded the namesake Italian fashion brand in 1965. Created by his oldest brother Luciano in 1963, he soon called upon his siblings, brothers Carlo and Gilberto and sister Giuliana to help run what would become known as United Colors of Benetton.

The global fashion brand started from humble beginnings, the siblings selling a small selection of colourful handmade knitwear in their hometown of Veneto, something that would later become their signature. With family at its core, the brand, still based in Ponzano Veneto, now has 5,000 stores worldwide.

Benetton lit up the high street with colourful wardrobe staples (Benetton )

Over the years Benetton has also been at the forefront of diversity within the fashion industry with attention-grabbing ad campaigns including a 1989 poster featuring a black woman breastfeeding a white baby and the 2011 campaign imagery showing President Barack Obama kissing Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Over the years Benetton has become known for championing diversity (Benetton)

Gilberto's death comes just three months after his younger brother Carlo, who suddenly died in July 2018. At the time, Benetton released a statement on social media, saying: "We remember with great affection, esteem and appreciation Carlo Benetton... he applied his intuition and courage to fuel the extraordinary adventure that become Benetton Group."

Gilberto Benetton is survived by his wife, Lalla; his daughters, Barbara and Sabrina, and his son-in-law, Ermanno.