Diesel launches Red Tag Project with Shayne Oliver in Paris
Renzo Rosso has chosen Paris to unveil Diesel's new creative approach. On Saturday night, with the Fashion Week in full swing, the Italian label took over an old factory in the French capital's 5th arrondissement, hidden behind an historic building's façade. It was the venue for the first event of Diesel's Red Tag Project, for which the label tapped US designer Shayne Oliver (founder of Hood By Air) and his team.
"For many years, Diesel has been an innovative, striking label. In the last five or six years I've been somewhat distanced from it, but now I'm heavily involved again and I want [Diesel] to be true to its DNA once more, [I want it] to be a contemporary label in 2018. This is why we started the Red Tag Project, based on a series of capsule collections. The first 'crazy designer' I called on board is Shayne. With him, I want to present a revolutionary take on denim. Let's say a couture one. Today's event is a mad showcase, but in the end, if you look at each individual item, [you see] they all have their place in a store."
Inside a huge hangar, the models climbed up a garage ramp and walked through a thick cloud of smoke, before bracing against the jolts of huge metallic cages mounted on hydraulic cylinders. The sense of feverish haste was heightened by pounding electronic music and flashing white lights. Boys and girls wore layers of signature Diesel apparel: jackets, shorts and jeans. The oversize items, worn back-to-front, made of raw, bleached or camouflage-print fabrics bore Shayne Oliver's unmistakeable Hood by Air imprint. The girls wore extra-large ties and the boys sported high-heeled denim boots, rising up to the knee with a puckered effect. Diesel's signature denim was featured in full force, making a strong, outspoken statement.
"We had been talking about a collaboration with Renzo Rosso for some time. We first discussed jeans, then we took a broader perspective," said Shayne Oliver backstage. "What we did here is more than a fashion show. It's a statement of intent. When I was young, I used to collect Diesel [jeans], and my mother worked for Diesel. I'd already set my sights on it. For this collaboration, I experimented around [Diesel's] basic items and its apparel concept. For example, I used a denim jacket, changing its style in five different ways. Diesel has its own history. I simply added my own insight and a few items I wanted to wear, to be honest."
Shayne Oliver is the first designer tapped by Diesel to reinterpret its history through the Red Tag Project, but Renzo Rosso, who is at the same time busy supervising the work of his own styling team for the label's main line, explained he is ready with a second instalment, by another designer.
"It's not simply the case of a series of collaborations," he said. "We are calling on those designers who are more in synch with what the market wants. It's how we communicate. And this event is a form of communication too. We must do it in a crazy way, Diesel-style, as we did it for the inauguration of our New York store. If we do it with sincerity, then we can earn the consumers' appreciation and respect. Otherwise, it's just another collaboration to make money."
The collaborations will be launched at various times throughout the year, each with a new creative slant. An approached designed to allow Diesel to affirm the “cool high-end contemporary casual" label positioning which its founder wants. Last year, according to Rosso, the brand focused its distributive efforts in department stores and high-end multibrand fashion retailers, cancelling more than €200 million in orders compared to the previous year. "Now that we have John Galliano at Margiela, and a label like Marni, Diesel too must be extraordinary. We cannot be just another brand."
Rosso said that Diesel is already beginning to reap the rewards of its new strategy, receiving a positive feed-back after the retail launch of the Spring/Summer collection. And he added that revenue could be back on the rise from the second half of 2018.
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