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MILAN — Andreas Melbostad will unveil his first men’s wear collection for Diesel Black Gold as guest designer at Pitti Uomo on Wednesday, and the attention-grabbing value of this endorsement is not lost on the Norwegian designer. “It’s a unique opportunity and such a fine stage for Diesel Black Gold,” said the unassuming and affable Melbostad, who underscored the relevance of the “friendly atmosphere” at Pitti Uomo and his happiness with the organization.
This story first appeared in the January 2, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Melbostad is planning to produce a runway show at Florence’s Stazione Leopolda at 9 p.m. with a strong focus on music, in keeping with Pitti Uomo’s theme this season, “Rock me Pitti.”
“I realized rock is also close to the Diesel Black Gold attitude,” said Melbostad, who in previous shows worked with tunes from such bands as Depeche Mode, New Order and The Chemical Brothers. “The emotion comes from the recognition of the original and iconic tracks, reworked and remixed for a new feeling,” explained the designer.
“I strongly believe in the Italian fashion system and in the promotion of Italian excellence,” said Renzo Rosso, founder of parent company OTB. “Therefore, I am particularly glad Pitti chose Diesel Black Gold as this season’s special event, as Pitti is among the best international fashion moments and our contemporary line is perfectly reflected in its creative values. Congratulations to Andreas, from what I already saw he will create a spectacular, impactful show in line with the label’s DNA.”
Melbostad defined the show at Pitti Uomo as “a starting point,” as he “brings cohesion and the same approach to the men’s and women’s collections.” In September, almost a year after being tapped as Diesel Black Gold’s women’s wear creative director, Melbostad was charged with responsibility for the men’s wear division as well — marking his entry into the men’s arena.
For his first men’s collection, Melbostad focused on the “silhouette [and] construction” and offered a tailored approach to complement the brand’s denim and leather core components. “A subversive way and irreverent attitude inform my approach to both the women’s and men’s collections,” he said. “I look at opposing and different textures in contrast to traditional materials with innovative finishings.”
The designer underscored “tension between classic and modern, innovative and aggressive and conservative,” as he played with traditional men’s patterns juxtaposed with new finishes and research.
The color base is black, lit up by “lots of metallics and hardware” and metallic colors such as silver and gunmetal. Sharp, classic formal shoes have metallic accents. “This is a very good moment for men’s wear — an exciting one as men are getting more individual in expressing themselves and taking a different approach,” said Melbostad.
The designer began his 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. Melbostad succeeded Sophia Kokosalaki as the collection’s creative director. Melbostad has said he has previously drawn inspiration from men’s wear “tailoring, function and utility. ”
The company is mapping out the opening of flagships in London and Milan in the first and second half of 2014, respectively. The London store will be located on Conduit Street.
There is one Diesel Black Gold unit in New York, on Greene Street in SoHo, which opened in 2012.
The brand is also available in select 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 plans to open stores in China in 2015.
A dedicated showroom in Milan just opened in the penthouse of Diesel’s Via Stendhal offices.
Diesel Black Gold, the upscale, contemporary sibling of Diesel, was founded in 2008. 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.
The Diesel Black Gold women’s wear collection is shown in New York.