Diesel Red Tag: performance art and powerful volumes by Glenn Martens, as Renzo Rosso promises to reveal “an atomic bomb"
A fine work of performance art from Diesel Red Tag in the Fabrica del Vapore, or Steam Factory space in Milan Saturday evening.
Perhaps not Vanessa Beecroft, but a terrific way to show off the debut collection by Glenn Martens for Diesel Red Tag. It’s Diesel's new incubator platform, with a first edition seen in March in Paris with Hood By Air's Shayne Oliver.
And, pre-show, after sharing a glass of his own excellent Bianco di Rosso chardonnay with pals, Diesel founder Renzo Rosso promised to reveal in the next month, “an atomic bomb, bringing a really huge name coming to Diesel.” We will stay tuned.
However, the Red Tag collection’s aim is abundantly clear: to win a millennial audience for Diesel, a once revolutionary Italian streetwear legend that has struggled to connect with the Instagram generation.
This collection should change that. Martens' key idea was "Go with the Flaw", even if his Belgian accent made that sound like "Flow". The results were, quite frankly, excellent, with Martens creating hyper adjustable, multi-button clothes, and then showing the same look on four different models but buttoned and belted and attached in radically different ways. V-shaped and made with buttons on each side running from hip to armpit, the shirts, tops, jackets and blousons could be worn in multiple shapes. Hence the work of performance art, where five foursomes of street-cast models marched up onto steep scaffolding in this late 19th-century brick factory.
“Go with the Flaw is one of Diesel’s great slogans, so I wanted people to embrace the flow and play with it. The pattern cutting followed the concept, with the waistband cut 10 sizes smaller than the rest of the piece. So everyone can chose their own different volume. It’s very versatile and democratic, because lots of people in lots of sizes can wear it!” explained the affable Martens.
“I’ve never been so strict on myself in following a concept,” said Martens, who shot the campaign and showed the collection on a cool multi-age casting. The Belgian clearly put in the overtime in this collection – visiting Diesel’s Venetian headquarters at Breganze eight times in the past eight months. Now he is off to Paris to present his day job Y/Project collection during the French menswear season.
“I have been following Glenn for two and a half years. I could not help noticing that Glenn always did lots of denim, perfect at Diesel. He comes from the Antwerp school of Dries Van Noten and Martin Margiela, so he has a sophisticated minimalism that I love,” explained Renzo Rosso.
“Diesel was ageing. We have to win back the millennial. And Red Tag is a great vehicle to do that,” added Rosso who plans to put the collection into 50 Diesel stores and selected boutiques like Dover Street and Luisa via Roma.
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