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Diesel – Keeps on Truckin’

DIESEL; the jeans brand that’s rapidly becoming the House of Diesel, once attracted a fan base of fashion forward fans totally in love with the label’s edgy, wearable designs...

Published on February 27th 2006.

Diesel – Keeps on Truckin’

DIESEL; the jeans brand that’s rapidly becoming the House of Diesel, once attracted a fan base of fashion forward fans totally in love with the label’s edgy, wearable designs. Founded in 1978, the company is well known for its jeans - dirty, well worn and industrial, with their StyleLab acting more recently as a forum for its experimental, stylish, and of course more expensive, creations.

Last night’s preview of the new Spring/Summer 06 collection was all very nice, accessible as ever and supposed to hail a ‘return to old-school glamour’. It doesn’t. Something’s gotten confused somewhere along the line and blandness has crept in. Whereas Diesel was once proud to claim that its design team had turned their back to style-dictators and trend forecasters, they’ve now become them - losing the vitality and energy within the company that made it so popular in the first place.

I arrived to house music, champagne and cocktails, the promise of 20% off anything bought that night, fashion and beauty tips from Elle and Shu Uemura and of course; the chance to view the collection before anyone else. I was in Diesel last week and not much had changed, and last night there just didn’t seem to be anything on the rails that isn’t already available in other shops within a 5 minutes walk. To be honest, much of what was in the store wouldn’t have looked at all out of place in H&M or TopShop 12 months ago, nor at a third of the price. Generic and uninspiring, I’d hoped for more.

The label’s head Renzo Rosso is said to believe in addressing the world with one product and one language, viewing fashion as a single, border-less macro-culture. Fair enough, but Elle’s faithless reproduction of catwalk looks with ready to wear clothing did little to address the types of style around Manchester, merely copying haut couture. The first model I spotted sported a gorgeous long flowing top, t-shirt-cum-high fashion excellence, accompanied by low slung dark denim boot cut jeans. The look was fabulous, the cut not so good and the jeans drifted down the model’s bum, forcing her to pull them up. She looked straight off the catwalk, with the type of figure (I assume) that Diesel jeans are designed for, yet they didn’t stay up, or fit properly - not the best way to sell a line to a room full of people. I wasn’t a big fan of the Safari look either. In a desert maybe, at a push, it’d work. But around town I’m not so sure.

No-one seemed too fussed though and the looks rolled on while the team from Campari poured cocktails for the mostly female clientele as they happily browsed and shopped into the night. Ever popular Shu Uemura were on hand to give makeovers and tips, and theirs looked to be the busiest area of the store. At one point I wondered where all the blokes were but then I realised, it was only 7pm; they were probably in the Annexe at Kendal’s buying some decent clobber, something imaginative like Ringspun or Firetrap.

Diesel’s look will last, and it’ll sell just like it always does, but not for the right reasons. There’s nothing new in the ‘new’ collection, it’s just another rehash of what’s already been done to death - the pseudo-military styled fabrics, the extra zips, canvas and jagged seams that still somehow appeal to the bar hopping urban crowd that snatches them up, and no doubt they’ll all happily pay another £100 for updated versions of the same stuff that they’ve bought from Diesel for the last 2 or 3 years straight. I love the clothes and the cut of Diesel, but I’ve been there before and won’t be going out of my way to shop there in the future. It lacks the challenge and adventure of previous years and I hate to say boring, but I’ve already got my nice Diesel jeans and shirt both complete with subtle design - I don’t want another 3 exactly the same. Nothing stood out, very little seemed special and I struggled to find anything that would set an outfit off without looking as though I’d obviously tried too hard.

I thought Manchester was supposed to be one of the street fashion capitals of the world? I couldn’t help but feel this offering from Diesel let us down a bit, lacked effort and mocked its place on the corner of one of our more supposedly fashionable streets.

Tristan Welch
» tristan@2mmedia.com

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