That Diesel’s return to the runway and Glenn Martens’ first physical show for the brand would come with a bang was practically a given. The signs were all there: edible candy underwear as a cheeky invitation; an Instagram campaign teasing the show date via posts of UFO-esque sightings of the brand’s logo in different locations — and Martens himself promising “irony, irony and irony” during a preview.
The venue featured gigantic inflatable characters lying on a red carpet in seductive poses, with models passing through their legs or under their bellies. It’s clear that Martens, since taking the creative helm in late 2020, is keen to reclaim the irreverent and frisky energy of Diesel’s heydays in the early 2000s.
The extensive fall 2022 lineup was consistent with the key areas Martens has so far focused on: denim in all of its forms, a mix of military and sportswear influences, as well as a pop accents evoking MTV’s glory days.
The Diesel woman was raw and fierce as she paraded in her low-waisted denim pants, second-skin tops and asymmetric silhouettes. Belts represented the backbone of many garments, from miniskirts to tank tops intertwined and constructed around them, while coated knits and printed, smocked velvet separates in shrunken proportions popped up in vivid prints and colors.
Fabric experimentation — the brand’s forte — added an intriguing layer to the coed lineup through plastified or coated treatments conveying visual depth or mimicking leather on denim separates, as well as via trompe l’oeil effects of archival Diesel garments printed on wardrobe staples such as T-shirts and coats. Martens’ knack for silhouette manipulation resulted in twisted, quilted and amplified shapes, which culminated in artisanal statement pieces, including oversized coats in distressed denim or furry effects.
“This is a brand playing with a lot of different outputs, obviously we’re global, we’re talking with a lot of different people but also…there’s no point in going into the fashion week calendar without creating a bit of drama,” said Martens.
He also flexed his eco muscles, using those artisanal showstoppers to spotlight the brand’s commitment to sustainability. For example, he introduced Rehab denim — as he called the result of leftover denim rewoven in new fabrics — and deployed many upcycled and deadstock textiles throughout the eclectic lineup.