“Since early on, when the role was first discussed with Renzo [Rosso, owner of Diesel], the goal was to have a singular vision for both categories,” said the Norwegian designer. Although this marks his entry into the men’s arena, Melbostad believes his “sensibility within women’s wear could translate into men’s.” Melbostad began his design career with Nicole Farhi in London and, before his most recent assignment as creative director of Susan Dell’s Phi, worked at Guy Laroche, Yves Saint Laurent and Calvin Klein.
The designer said he has previously drawn from men’s wear in terms of “tailoring, function and utility,” and that he sees “great potential” in men’s wear for Diesel Black Gold, given Diesel’s “heritage” in this category. Melbostad said the Diesel Black Gold man is a “partner” of the brand’s woman, whose attitude is “strong and confident, with an international sensibility, adventurous and global. The idea behind men’s is not so different.” There will also be an “irreverent” touch and more denim than in women’s. The men’s line was previously designed by an in-house team coordinated by Rosso. “I’ve worked with Renzo for a year, and from the very first moment, I was impressed by his drive and enthusiasm for the Diesel Black Gold project. He is very passionate and proud, he has an almost animal force that drives me and the team,” said Melbostad.
The designer, who splits his time between New York and Italy, is working on structuring a “comprehensive collection, mixing fabrics together, with a tailoring component.” While women’s wear is shown in New York, Milan is the men’s wear venue, and there are no plans to change the status quo.
“After the beautiful success of the women’s collection, in which Andreas perfectly expressed the rock-chic essence of Diesel Black Gold, I am even more convinced that he is the most appropriate person to provide substance and direction to the line,” Rosso said. “He will be involved in all aspects, from the collection to the communication, including interior design.”
The company, which is controlled by Rosso’s OTB SpA, is mapping out the opening of flagships in Milan and London in the second half of the year. Melbostad said he is looking at finalizing a store concept, “exploring the identity of the brand.”
There is only one existing Diesel Black Gold in New York, on Greene Street in SoHo, which will reopen after a remodeling during fashion week. The unit opened last year. The brand is also available in selected Diesel flagships and in 200 multibrand stores around the world. Italy, Japan, the U.K. and France are Diesel Black Gold’s main markets. There are also plans to open stores in China after 2014.
A new dedicated showroom in Milan is to open in the penthouse of Diesel’s Via Stendhal offices.
Diesel Black Gold, the upscale, contemporary sibling of Diesel, was founded in 2008. Melbostad succeeded Sophia Kokosalaki. In 2012, Diesel Black Gold totaled sales of about 55 million euros, or $72.4 million at current exchange, while Diesel had sales of 1.1 billion euros, or about $1.45 billion.
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