Style Check: Diesel artistic director's debut collection signals new direction

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 April, 2014, 10:07am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 April, 2014, 10:07am

Loud music, tight punky silhouettes, knitted pom-pom balaclavas and a diminutive blonde who took her top off while strutting down the centuries-old runway space at the Arsenal in Venice.

It was all part of Nicola Formichetti's new vision for global denim label Diesel. After one year at the brand, its new artistic director finally unveiled his debut collection and a look at the new direction in which he is taking the 35-year-old company.

The fashion show revealed that super-tight skinny jeans were integral to the look for both men and women; with high waists and figure hugging tops a distinctive point of departure. Acid wash, bleached effects, big belts and punky cut-off denim jackets laden with badges and other embellishments - this was a collection that "looks back to look forward" and set an agenda for the future of Diesel.

That morning, Formichetti had been giving interviews at his hotel in Venice, waxing lyrical about British and Italian fashion of the '90s. That was when he began developing his own sense of style that grew with the cult aesthetic of Dazed and Confused magazine and his striking styling of Lady Gaga. Formichetti says he wanted to create a new "foundational collection" for Diesel that captured a certain time, "but interpreted it for the future".

The heavily '90s-inspired debut was a reboot of the brand at a "very special moment in the history of Diesel", says founder, owner and irreverent Italian media mogul Renzo Rosso.

After 35 years of creating the agenda of the cult brand, Rosso has charged the young, zeitgeist-tapping talent of Formichetti. And despite being a shock to the system, in a positive way, for both the look of Diesel and (we hear from staff) the internal energy of the company, his vision paid homage to the most iconic pieces and themes of Diesel's eventful history, especially it's '90s heyday.

Formichetti likes to bring his collaborators along with him when he takes on a project, and this time it was the digital video work of noted photographer Nick Knight and a performance by the provocative Brooke Candy that sent of jolt of energy through the show.

This seemed to be just the kick that Diesel needed - a push into the future without forgoing the brand's illustrious past.

Renzo Rosso seemed happy after the show, as did Formichetti, perhaps because they know this is ushering in a new chapter for Diesel, and a hopeful one at that.