A mountain of condoms greeted guests at the Diesel show Monday lunchtime in Milan, a salutary reminder of the importance of safe sex in a potent and persuasive collection by creative director Glenn Martens.
The designer collaborated with Durex, which provided 200,000 condoms – or what the Italians term preservativi – to make a centre-point for the show. And the point of the collection, which featured a jersey T-shirt that swapped the D of Durex with the D of Diesel.
Part of a forthcoming capsule, which will drop in April 2023, marking the first time Durex has made a collection with a fashion brand. Backing up their words with actions, Diesel plans to give away for free a further 300,000 Durex condoms in the same month at Diesel stores worldwide.
“Sex positivity is something amazing. We like to play at Diesel, and we are serious about it. Have fun, respect each other, be safe. For Sucsexful Living!” explained Martens, who took an extended bow, walking around his red ridge of rubbers.
One could take as many as you wanted when departing. Several guests lay down among the prophylactics for Instagram shots. It should be a busy night in Milan.
Especially, as this was a first-rate Diesel collection, by a designer who gets the whole sense of what Diesel is about. Distressed dude style for guys; tattered cool for gals.
Flaunt it while you got it with low-slung jeans, shorn at the waistline; skimpy and ragged halter neck dresses the better to show off youthful figures. Denim over-painted, intersected with lace or mesh.
Most striking of all, Diesel’s denim devoré, developed in-house, distressed jeans that shows the skin, bottoms and underwear beneath. Hips and haunches revealed under oversized shirts, jeans, skirts, scrawny knits and dresses, often embellished with crystals.
For guys, a painterly moment with lots of denim and leather jackets smeared and over-painted like an abstract expressionist’s palette.
Cyber punk heroines in faded denim power-shoulder flight jackets and matching denim skinny cargo pants, with denim high heels with mini military pockets. Demin so bleached and crinkled it looked like fried metal or a worn white-washed wall on the Aran islands.
Gary Gill Make-up: Inge Grognard
In a brilliant hair and make-up display by Gary Gill Make and Inge Grognard – theatrically done, models were done up with blue and washed-out faces and torsos matching and complimenting the fabrics.
Martens also cut some mean leather looks – ergonomic warriors – for ladies a wrap blouson held in place with a metallic D, an askew skirt and gunslinger’s belt; for gents a superhero top and pants – with the same belt.
At times, it did get far too messy, as Martens played about with shaggy nomad baseball jackets and tunics. Before righting itself with a great series of rock star Pop Art looks. Made by using Photoshop to blow up hyper-real close-ups of faces, mouths, smiles and teeth, seen on zip-up jackets, tops and skirts.
Working the eco-responsibility angle, Glenn upcycled existing fabrics like biker denims, which he metalized, or a shearling jacket that were bonded with denim then distressed. While deadstock faux fur was painted, covered in plastic and heated – to look like almost liquid fur.
Clearly putting in the hours in Diesel’s design studio, Martens also sent out denim boots with utilitarian pockets; a new sneaker with an oversized sole, the Prototype 3; a D-Charm quilted denim bag; fresh shades made in special collab’ with EssilorLuxottica; and a brand-new watch, the Vertebrae, its casing shaped like the bones of the spine.
But, ultimately, the most memorable image was Marten’s summit of sheathes, a striking reminder of individual freedom, and responsibility, for Diesel’s global community.
“We have to remind everyone that safe sex is still important, we cannot forget,” concluded Martens.
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