Unless you’ve spent the past year living under a rock or worse, somewhere without WiFi then you’ll be well aware that big changes have been afoot at Diesel. The Italian label launched by Renzo Rosso in 1978 has always been, for want of a better word, cool, deftly transitioning into a fashion force while selling an estimated 100,000,000 pairs of the iconic jeans that made its name (NY Times 2013) along the way. The addition of contemporary catwalk cool via the premium line, Diesel Black Gold in 2008, early adoption of pioneering digital marketing techniques and collaborations with the likes of Mark Ronson and M.I.A continued to further the brands clout as harbinger of all things hot-right-now. Then just last year, in a move that was nothing short of genius, Diesel appointed Nicola Formichetti as Artistic Director as the cementation of its standing as a global empire with cult status was complete. Within month’s Formichetti was lending his unconventional (to put it mildly, hello meat dress) touch to Diesel’s advertising campaigns and marketing activity but it is only now that his first full collection has been revealed. Obviously, this is a pretty big deal so I was absolutely delighted when Diesel approached me to work with them on its exclusive launch in Selfridges.
The Pre AW14 collection is a master stroke in badass luxury (my words, not those of the official press release) and a really clear fusion of Diesel’s long running brand identity with Nicola’s own fearless creativity. Since Formichetti’s appointment, the brand has undertaken a “Diesel Reboot” and these pieces are a perfect culmination of that. Rather than changing, replacing or redesigning anything on a fundamental level, the past year has seen a series of adjustments, updates and creative initiative’s that have modernised and reinvigorated the label without losing the core values, design techniques or heritage that built Diesel into the powerhouse it is today. The Neoclassical Campaign which accompanies Nicola Formichetti’s debut collection for Diesel conveys a similar message. Looking back at striking group images through history – from Michelangelo to Avedon – Formichetti has brought together a democratic, eclectic group of starts, internet cast kids and musclemen to showcase the collection through imagery that juxtaposes the hypermodern and the classical, shot by photographer and digital innovator Nick Knight. In short, it’s a pretty awesome campaign.
By now I suspect you’re wondering where I really come into all of this but never fear, I’m about to tell you. As the collection is currently available exclusively in Diesel’s Selfridges Pop Up, the team invited me in to check it out and choose a piece to style myself. Tempted though I was by the bad girl biker pants and red star detail jacket, I knew the second I arrived that the leather mini dress would be coming home with me. I’ve wanted a leather dress forever and this one, with its dungaree style strap details, cross body zip and buttery softness is too good to be true.
Diesel are clearly fans of posing a challenge (remember last summer’s Jogg Jeans project!?) because gorgeous though the leather number is, it’s not exactly within my comfort zone and my confidence nearly failed me when it came to wearing it. But of course, I wasn’t about to slink back to Selfridges with my tail between my legs and ask to swap it for something more conservative. So I winched myself in and added seriously fierce sandals (I’m a big believer in going hard or going home, sartorially speaking) and do you know what? Suddenly I didn’t feel so fearful. All thoughts of retreating back into blouses pronto vanished and next thing I knew I was strutting my stuff on the streets of West London. It was slightly unfortunate in retrospect that our shoot coincided with school pick up time and many an open mouthed yummy mummy crossed the road away from us, shielding their young ‘uns eyes… But such is the transformative, balls-of-steel giving power of a dress like this that I found I really couldn’t have cared less about a few stares. Whether or not I manage to summon similar bravado when it comes to wearing it out and about remains to be seen… Watch this space.
Love Ella. X
Images by Holly McGlynn