Diesel has etched its name in the hearts of Gen Z and Millenial fashion enthusiasts once again for their 2022 autumn/winter collection.
If one thing is certain, it’s that Glenn Martens knows denim. Having had a busy year so far, Martens has debuted his Y/Project AW22 collection, as well as an in-house collaboration with Jean Paul Gaultier, and now the busiest designer of the season has debuted his Y2K-infused AW22 catwalk presentation for Diesel.
At Y/Project the Belgian-born designer offers cutaway jeans, cowboy jeans, trumpet jeans and peepshow jeans, but at Diesel’s Milan show, his first since appointed as the brand’s creative director, denim was seriously subverted. Martens brought couture sensibilities to one of the most utilitarian fabrics of all. There were floor-sweeping denim fur jackets, acid-washed denim bodysuits, and, more surprisingly, bodycon Martian-esque tiny dresses and skirts in metallic knits. Martens ripped the denim conventions to pieces, and the audience was particularly pleased.
The set, which was art directed by Niklas Bildstein Zaar, who previously worked with Kanye West on Donda, was one of the greatest seen thus far in Milan. At first sight, the runway space appeared simple: a meandering red catwalk with enough of time to digest each look. Then the inflatable dolls then appeared. Although slightly distracting, the enormous man and woman who lined the catwalk in provocative poses – dressed in Diesel, of course – only enhanced the ominous ambience of the show.
Apart from the strange set dressing, Diesel’s new collection was edgy, on-brand, and faintly futuristic. Imagine altering your existing winter wardrobe to appear as though you’ve survived an apocalypse, and you’ll get a sense of the collection’s spirit. Many of its looks are influenced by the commercialism that Diesel has cultivated in recent years. Diesel is known for its logo skirts, jumpsuits made to seem like denim in a trompe l’oeil manner, and faded jeans. Martens’ more innovative items, such as utilitarian jumpsuits and mossy denim jumpers, hint at Martens slightly pushing against this commercialism.
While every style was classic Martens, complete with early 2000s sex and pop star glam, there were a few standouts. A leather belt, for example, was remade and blown up into a skirt, replete with frayed denim fringes — and it was very Miu Miu, à la the micro-skirt that channels the cool-girl noughties aesthetic that no one can get enough of at the moment. The Diesel AW22 collection was also an absolute masterclass in distressing. It didn’t merely grace jeans in the typical sense; for example, there were no blown-out knees. Instead, all of the distressing was applied to the waist and crotch areas for a new yet noughties-inspired look, or it featured on the lapels of coats.
In addition to denim, there are chiffon and organza dresses, leather suits and shearling flight jackets, and a bewildering selection of metallic coated knit dresses. Closing the collection were waxed denim pieces that looked like leather, demonstrating Martens’ continued use of illusionary methods seen in his recent Y/Project and JPG collections.
Many people were optimistic about Martens’ new role at Diesel, and we think it’s safe to say he hasn’t disappointed . We’re entering a new age of Diesel, one that’s trendier and more innovative than ever before.