MILAN | Thousands came out in a rain to watch an open-air Diesel show during Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday, making the denim-centric brand the hottest ticket in town.
Designer Glenn Martens has elevated Diesel to new heights, attracting top music talent like Jaden Smith to the VIP section of his elevated, concert-style runway, and making the raised big-D logo a must-have for the coveted Gen-Z.
Diesel’s Spring-Summer 2024 co-ed collection combined early 2000s standards — cargo pants, bra tops, hoodies — with cutting-edge textile innovations that made it sometimes difficult to interpret what was coming down the runway. The rain only enhanced the mystery.
Denim faded into sheers, or was treated with a spray-paint effect. Garments had an almost savage look, as if disintegrating. A latex dress hugged the form in a nearly nude beige, somewhere on the border between transparency and cover.
It is as if Martens created a cast of characters in his own fantasy. Long dresses were in tatters; it’s anybody’s guess why. Rock T-shirts had a psychedelic menace, worn with trousers that seemed to disappear. Oversized army fatigues were worn stylishly with a cross-body fanny pack, mission accomplished.
All this fantasy, combined with slicked hair and faces sometimes painted, gave an otherworldly, eerie look to the collection, which only excited the crowd even more.
Martens learned from his missteps: He revamped the big-D-emblazoned leather-belt mini that was a TikTok sensation when an eager buyer demonstrated its lack of coverage, riding up whenever she sat down. The updated version features a series of belts, over leather panties. Problem solved.
Indeed, looks were awash in practicality. Zip pockets are sewn into bra tops, while a trio of fanny packs become a bandeau top: perfect for the festival circuit.
Brand-owner Renzo Rosso, who is CEO of the OTB group, lauded Martens as a “phenomenon,” but said there was a lot of teamwork to get the kind of results.
The technology going into the textiles is so cutting-edge that Rosso said that part of the production site is sealed off from the rest to protect the secrecy.
“Touch the garments, and you will go out of your mind,” Rosso said.