Lack of identity is a problem that seems to affect more than a few labels today, with designers often wavering between respect for heritage and desire to make a personal style statement. Diesel has so far been able to navigate this conundrum, its strong foundation being flexible enough to absorb innovation without compromising its appeal. Andreas Melbostad, Diesel Black Gold’s creative director, has to be credited for leading the brand by balancing the fine line between its tough rock ’n’ roll, streetwise roots and an elevated, polished urban minimalism. It’s a road that he continues to travel for Pre-Fall.
The designer presented the women’s and men’s collections while shooting the lookbook in a huge industrial warehouse, which will also serve as the location for the menswear show in January. It was a fitting backdrop for a utilitarian-inspired lineup. “I wanted to go back to our core values,” said the designer. Yet he couldn’t resist playing on hybridity, which has become a personal creative trademark. He reworked modern wardrobe staples through the filter of a polished assemblage sensibility, which also owes a great deal to his Nordic roots. This was particularly apparent in the strong unisex outerwear: Bombers, biker jackets, parkas, and peacoats were combined as if in a genetic experiment, giving way to a new breed of multipurpose, convertible items.
“I’m using the same ingredients for both genders, playing on a similar aesthetic approach. The soul of the brand is so strong that it just needs a fresh spin,” Melbostad said. Hence he worked on a subtle yet architectural sense of tailoring, favoring careful construction without detracting from the cool factor. A dash of ’70s retro-sporty flavor added spice to tracksuit-like men’s denim trousers, embellished with colorful side bands; the women’s lineup was infused with hints of the softer silhouette already presented in the label’s Spring show. Dungarees-inspired short dresses in jacquard georgette had a feminine flair, as did tops worn with drawstring palazzo pants. Yet an ultrashort pinafore in pleated black leather was a reminder that the Diesel Black Gold girl is only sweet up to a point: You’d better not cross her.