Sophia Kokosalaki speaks plainly and laughs with the confidence of someone who's doing what she loves, and knows she does it well. The 37-year-old Greek fashion designer shows no signs of buckling under the weight of her hefty new role at the creative helm of Diesel's high-end sibling, Diesel Black Gold - not to mention her own internationally acclaimed, eponymous label. Kokosalaki has just flown in from her base in London to present Diesel Black Gold's autumn-winter womenswear collection - which arrives in stores next week - in Tokyo, Japan. Although the brand is already two years old, it's her first collection for the label since she was handpicked last year to oversee the women's line by multimillion-dollar fashion magnate and Diesel founder Renzo Rosso. The announcement came as a surprise to industry insiders since her work is more inclined towards beautiful Grecian-inspired draped formalwear than casual blue jeans. 'At first, I was a bit sceptical, because I wondered, 'What do I have to offer here?'' Kokosalaki says. 'But then it's not Diesel, it's Diesel Black Gold. It's a little more sophisticated. The eldest brother of Diesel.' Rosso first started working with Kokosalaki three years ago when his holding company, Only the Brave, acquired her fashion label and added it to its portfolio of luxury brands alongside DSquared and Maison Martin Margiela. Later, Rosso was so impressed by a small denim collection Kokosalaki created for her own line, that he approached her to lead Diesel Black Gold for women. When the appointment was announced, it was let drop that Kokosalaki's own label and Only The Brave were parting ways. 'It's a complicated story, but in the end, where there's goodwill and civilised minds, there's always a solution,' Kokosalaki says. 'The way we were working, I couldn't do the clothes for my label the way I wanted.' Now that she is doing both labels exactly the way she wants, everyone is happy. While Diesel Black Gold has its own visual identity, dedicated store space and will carry its own, heavier price tag, Kokosalaki explains that it share Diesel's core values. 'It's casual, it's rock n' roll, it's sex,' she says. As such, her first collection is designed for the woman who used to wear Diesel, but has now 'grown up'. She also hopes to attract new customers who are simply looking for quality contemporary clothes, and has added her signature intricate details. The collection plays with soft and hard elements, combining hand-treated denim and biker black leather with delicate metal embroidery and vintage studs. Diesel's signature industrial attitude is updated with simple, chic cuts - soft woollen dresses come with waist-cinching studded belts, while layers of sheer tulle cover punk-inspired denim ensembles. Dressed in understated black, with the odd rock 'n' roll accessory, Kokosalaki says her masculine side rejects overly feminine clothes. This doesn't, however, detract from the sexiness of her designs. 'Diesel Black Gold is very form-fitting, very sexy ... ooh!' She shakes her hand, as if scorched. 'But I try to walk this difficult line ... not to make it cheap.' It also depends on who's wearing it, she points out. And as if to illustrate her point, later that evening some models carry the clothes off better than others who can be spotted bashfully pulling down the thigh-skimming skirts under the glare of camera flashes. While Diesel Black Gold is somewhat exclusive - it will go on sale at selected Diesel stores (in Hong Kong, find it at the flagship in Central) and high-end fashion boutiques such as Lane Crawford - Kokosalaki says that there's something about the brand's mass appeal that attracts her. 'For my own line, I can make something innovative and precious, but it's more select for a smaller audience. With this I can touch a lot of people who don't necessarily know who I am. Usually, when you have one thing, you don't have the other. Now I have both, I can express myself in many ways.' Despite having received rave reviews for more than 10 years for her own label, Kokosalaki has no illusions of grandeur. 'It is an important job and I love it, but I'm no better than anybody else.' Does being so down-to-earth ever make her wonder if she's in the right industry? 'No, I'm 100 per cent in the right industry,' she says. 'It's the industry that's wrong. Some people just come to fashion for the wrong reasons. They want to be seen, they want to show off, to assert their personalities in a way. 'For some, style has become a life purpose. To be the first to wear something, to be ahead of the others; it's so shallow.' Kokosalaki is clearly a breath of fresh air and forms part of a new breed of humble, young designers who are replacing the celebrity 'It' designers and enfants terribles of the previous generation. 'Things are really changing now, and it doesn't leave much space to cultivate airs and graces,' she says. With two collections to produce each season - one for her own line and one for Diesel Black Gold - Kokosalaki's future looks busy. She admits that she finds it hard to stop, but she's not complaining. 'I have this need to make clothes. Even if they didn't pay me, I'd still be making them,' she says. Cool change Top looks from the Diesel Black Gold autumn-winter collection: Look 1 - stretch leather and denim dress (far left). Rosso and Kokosalaki's favourite look because it embodies the brand's new direction. Look 3 - one-shoulder dress. A sexy halter dress highlighted with small details such as bent nail closures for the front seam. Look 15 - black quilted leather jacket with detachable sleeves. Leather jackets are one of the brand's best-sellers. Look 18 - men's-style grey jacket worn with stonewashed denim. Sums up the brand's cool urban look. Look 25 - denim dress with tulle and crystals. A rock chick outfit with a hint of femininity - Kokosalaki's signature.