Creatively helming a brand that is an “alternative to luxury,” Glenn Martens is well aware that pre-collections are the moment to fully express Diesel’s democratic ethos by connecting it with the largest audience possible. The mission to attract different clusters of consumers to the D-universe didn’t stop the designer from adding a little excitement to the commercial exercise, as Martens translated some of the concepts introduced in the fall 2023 collection into a simplified language — and more accessible price point — for resort 2024.
“We think that everybody should be able to get a taste of the show and…to engage with it,” he said over Teams, tuning in from a set in London. “It’s quite nice because I think in this collection we can [reach out to] a lot of people while still staying true to the straightforward vibe.”
While keeping consistent with his core themes — the three pillars of denim, utility and pop aesthetics that have echoed as a mantra every season — Martens’ trickle-down effort from runway to everyday pieces resulted in a wearable collection displaying metallic coating, fabric mismatches, distressed and trompe l’oeil effects.
Highlights included reflective treatments applied on an array of unfussy sweatshirts and knit dresses, as well as on a pair of yellow denim pants, which were then stonewashed to reveal the color beneath for a cool, pop edge. Conversely to the show, where similar results were achieved with a longer process and triple layering, here Martens opted for “a bit more democratic way of spraying” the metal touch and industrialize the procedure.
Ditto for the eye-catching artisanal pieces previously seen on the runway, such as shearling coats pulled through a distressed denim layer or garments that underwent oxidation or blow-torched treatments: They were now made accessible by being scanned and printed on resort separates, including zip-up windbreakers, for one.
Elsewhere, the delicacy of denim interwoven on organza introduced before was translated into dresses trimmed with lace. Denim frocks were also splashed with an allover print of sequins for a trompe l’oeil effect, while jersey halter-neck dresses and tops cut from male T-shirts and stitched back together offered a sportier alternative.
The utility vibe also ran through roomy track pants, baggy cargo options and camouflage prints, while distressed effects, double-layered intarsia knits and soft tailoring pairing cool wool and acetate featured in the men’s offering.
A big focus on denim jackets and heavy branding served the purpose of making an even more immediate impact on Gen Z-ers, one of the key targets fueling Diesel’s momentum. “We’re extremely popular with younger generations, which I think is a blessing. But they never had heard of us before because they weren’t born obviously, so they don’t know that this is actually a denim brand. They are discovering it now,” said an amused Martens.
To further engage with youth and let them partake in the real Diesel lifestyle, the brand is heading to Rome for another round of its free raves on May 19 — quite a bold statement considered this kind of event has been at the center of a political debate in Italy.
“We did it on purpose to annoy a bit,” joked Martens, explaining that technically the event is considered a private party “for 7,000 people, for hours.”
“But I thought [that] if they start doing statements to kill the youth culture…we have to fight against it. It’s our job and responsibility to be the Joan of Arc of fun and of enjoying life,” he concluded.