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EXCLUSIVE: Glenn Martens on Creating D by Diesel

The gender-fluid scent launches in July.

PARIS — D by Diesel is revving up to launch. It marks the first scent overseen by creative director Glenn Martens and is the first gender-fluid fragrance for the brand.

Martens had never worked on a perfume before, but he applies the same methodology for any product segment.

“All the categories are there to reconnect with the founding values of the brand and to celebrate [them loudly],” he explained.

To Martens, Diesel is about “successful living, enjoying life, nailing every single situation. It’s a very active, joyful identity. It is also, of course, a global brand, so it’s about connecting the world.”

Executives from Diesel’s fragrance licensee L’Oréal met with Martens right when he began almost two years ago.

“We shared our common goals about the brand and his vision for [it], and decided to create together a new fragrance which could be the expression of his new vision of Diesel,” said Guillaume de Lesquen, global president, international designer fragrances, at L’Oréal.

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Gen Zers from France, the U.K. and Germany also collaborated on D. The notion of a melting pot is important to Diesel, and it was key to reflect that in the scent project.

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Martens began working on the bottle design and fragrance at once. The bottle, which is recyclable, refillable and upcyclable, features the Diesel for Successful Living logo and looks like it has a hand imprint. This might seem like an activist’s hand, “having a mark on life,” said Martens.

“But on the other hand, what I also liked about it is that it’s the negative form of Diesel’s iconic perfume Only the Brave, which is a fist,” he continued. “I wanted to see them as a family.”

The idea for the vegan juice created by Givaudan perfumers Nisrine Grillié, Shyamala Maisondieu and Louise Turner was that it gives a positive, summery and happy feeling, and to transpose the comfy feeling of jeans. D includes sustainably sourced Bourbon vanilla infusion from Madagascar and Diva lavender heart from Provence, as well as notes of ginger and lavender.

Martens doesn’t assign a gender to products he develops, including shoes, which are for everyone. “So we, of course, do that also with the perfume,” he said.

Martens likes that D evolves differently on each person, saying: “Everyone has his own personal connection to it.”

D lovers, meanwhile, become a community.

The designer enjoyed working on the campaign film, which features the D bottle flying from a jungle into a city, and unites folk. The casting includes Ella Snyder, Deaken Bluman, Nathan Hopkinson (aka Curlyfrysfeed) and Omizs.

Part of the D by Diesel campaign.
Part of the D by Diesel campaign. Courtesy of L'Oréal

“It was a bunch of friends and teams. It was really amazing also to gather this whole community of kids,” said Martens.

These are real people with diverse sexual orientations, religions and genders.

“It becomes like a massive joy fest of good vibes,” he continued of the spot, through which he’s trying to convey an ethos.

D will launch in Europe in July, the U.S. and Japan in September, and the rest of Asia in 2023.

Neither Diesel nor L’Oréal executives would discuss projections, but industry sources estimate D will generate $75 million in retail sales between August and December.

Its prices range from 41 euros for the 30-ml. eau de toilette to 95 euros for the 150-ml. edt refill.

Diesel is considered a lifestyle brand.

“We see how lifestyle brands in regions like Europe, North America or South America are able to move the market as soon as they bring innovations and disruptive approaches,” said de Lesquen.

D, he explained: “Is really a project to conquer the world.”

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