True Colors

Oliviero Toscani Talks Heroes, Superstition and Eternity

Photographer Oliviero Toscani has been living in Tuscany for the past 40 years, working from the small village of Casale Marittimo, where he has an office and photo studio (next to the butcher and the post office). Famed for his controversial, utterly brilliant campaigns for Benetton in the 80s and 90s, he also launched the influential Colors magazine in 1990, and in 1993 founded Fabrica, a creative “laboratory” dedicated to researching and pioneering new ideas in the world of communication. In August, most other Italians are idling in deck chairs, but when we got in touch with him—weeks ahead of the harvest of the grapes and olives he grows on his land—he was about to run off and shoot a new campaign for Woolworths. Read his quick-fire thoughts below:

What are you reading? 

Acciaio [a 2010 novel by Silvia Avallone, currently a bestseller in Italy], and newspapers.

How do you relax?  

I don’t watch TV, don’t go to the cinema, don’t look at other images. 

What is the perfect age?   

My age! [68.]

Favorite country? 

Italy (except the politics).

Do you believe in eternal love?  

I don’t believe in eternity.

Are you superstitious? 

No, it’s too tiring.
 
Six dream guests for a dinner party?

Goya, Machiavelli, Bob Dylan, Frida Kahlo, Brigitte Bardot aged 19 (for beauty only).

Who are your heroes?  

I think heroes are dangerous––we shouldn’t need heroes, they bring aggression.

Your dream concert? 

Piano played by Mozart.

What’s in your closet?  

Only blue Levi’s 501s, Brooks Brothers shirts, very organized. 

Your favorite gadget?

Square yellow Post-it.

Best way to travel? 

By horse. It depends on the reason for travel. 

What change would you like to see in the world?

A new movement by this generation, like the one I saw in the 60s.




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