Toscani updates B&B Italia ad after 35 years

Legendary photographer Oliviero Toscani has updated the controversial advertisement he shot 35 years ago for Le Bambole, the sofa collection originally designed by Mario Bellini for B&B Italia in 1972.


The new images were unveiled at the UK launch of the updated Le Bambole range, held in the B&B Italia showroom London last night and attended by both Toscani and Bellini.

Toscani’s new photos replace the playful sexuality of the original ad with two austere and somewhat disturbing images of 11-year old Polish twins Cecile and Pauline sitting bolt upright on the chairs.


Toscani’s original campaign (above), which featured bleach-blonde, heavily made-up and bare-breasted model Donna Jordan nestling seductively in an armchair, caused a scandal when it was unveiled at the Salone del Mobile in Milan in 1972.

At last night’s event, Bellini described how the president of the Salone was furious at the display of nudity in the furniture fair’s halls and ordered the breasts to be covered up with black tape.

This only increased the attention the chair received; Le Bambole has been in continuous production ever since.

Toscani worked for Benetton from 1982 to 2000, where he was instrumental in turning the company into one of the world's most recognised global brands through his often controversial advertising campaigns.

He launched Colors magazine in 1990 and founded Benetton's research and educational centre, Fabrica.

The discussion between Bellini and Toscani at last night’s event was chaired by dezeen editor Marcus Fairs. We hope to bring you a short movie of the highly entertaining conversation between the two legends in the next week or so.

>> see our original story about the new Le Bambole range here