Nothing can rain on Glenn Martens’ parade at Diesel.
Despite Mother Nature’s attempt to do so, nothing seemed to dampen the spectacle the brand put together for its spring 2024 collection. Going for bigger and bigger formats, Diesel resumed the open-to-public formula first introduced last year and hosted a free rave party for 7,000 people — eight hours of music, rotating DJ sets, a giant screen and free gin included.
It was a demonstration of force and smartness — or craziness, depending on your point of view (given the brand’s irreverent spirit, the latter would be probably considered even more flattering). What’s certain is that under Martens’ tenure, Diesel has grasped what has been sitting under everybody’s nose while debating if shows should be more about the actual clothes or entertainment — that is the power of participation.
Yet the hunger for inclusivity in fashion exceeded even the designer’s expectations: during a preview, Martens mentioned that more than 25,000 users registered on the website to access the show, and that the tickets available were gone in less than 30 minutes.
How to match such an expectation fashion-wise?
On an elevated catwalk, Martens showed a collection heavy on extremely distressed looks that seemed to have survived the rave, and were set to be worn in the next music gig. The deconstructed, weathered feel was an overarching theme across silhouettes, techniques and fabrics, encompassing tulle stitched with burn-out jersey, jacquard indigo knits resembling distressed denim via uncut threads, or devoré denim pieces printed from the inside with the Diesel red logo or pinstripe motifs.
The brand’s utilitarian vibe resonated loudly in separates that could be zipped together and in cargo pants and tops made by stitching together pockets and fanny packs, which resulted in looks that could be very practical come the next music festival season.
Cinema was another big theme behind the collection. Film posters were reimagined into Diesel action or sci-fi movies to appear as mere prints or undergoing the same distressed effect to evoke peeled wild postings, as seen in a couple of laser-cut printed leather ensembles that were among the highlights of the collection. For the most artisanal pieces, Martens scrunched real movie posters to mold standout jackets, while he nodded to Oscar statues and old Hollywood divas in the nude gowns and satin dresses that closed the show on a glam note.
The rave will yield to a free, three-day movie festival over the weekend, as Martens will invite the public to screenings of films he picked, ranging from “Fight Club” and “Dunkirk” to “Mulholland Drive.”