The anticipation for super stylist Nicola Formichetti's debut show has had plenty of time to build; yesterday marked the one year anniversary of his appointment as creative director of the denim brand. While we've seen a few hints of what was to come - with the Tribute capsule collection and strong new campaigns, for example - last night offered the big reveal.
Transporting the fashion pack to Venice's historic Arsenale dockyard, a month after the regular fashion schedule closed, Nicola made the point that Diesel is going to make it's own rules. 'I think if we had been in Paris or London I might have been more stressed, but this is our territory. Rather than sharing models and doing that whole Paris thing we wanted to offer an experience,' he explained before the show.
That ambition was well and truly achieved with a 30 minute show that was as much about performance and political statement as it was about fashion. The huge catwalk was flanked by three enormous screens beaming out a stream of emotive, sexualised moving images created by Nick Knight. As the models emerged, prowling rather than sashaying down the runway, it was clear that Nicola had cherry picked the coolest kids in town to walk for his debut.
Eighty seven models were street cast for the show- discovered on tumblr, Instagram or picked out on the street across multiple continents. 'It is a constant project for me. I am always, always looking for amazing people. While I love models and I'll always keep working with them for me it's still incredible how little diversity we see- beauty comes in all colours, all body shapes, black, white, whatever,' Nicola expanded.
The clothes explored Diesel's DNA along the four 'pillars' of denim, leather, military and sports inspirations. This translated into ultra covetable, butter soft biker pants (seen in the show in lipstick red), purple faux fur trimmed parkas complete with graffiti down the sleeve and a host of innovative denim treatments including a Swiss cheese style effect. Mini dresses in black leather were zipped in tight while double denim featured heavily. Punky, sexy and certainly outside of the mainstream, yet these clothes were also wearable and importantly commercially bankable.
Closing the show each and every member of Nicola's tattooed, pierced and pretty army had a balaclava pulled over their faces- a comment he explained, 'on the crazy anti- freedom, anti-gay movements going on. We just wanted to say if we all unite together we can fight it. But we're not terrorists, we're lovers!'
As Jeffrey Lewis track 'What Would Pussy Riot Do' blared across the catwalk - buffs will recognise the musical poem from the Marc by Marc Jacobs S/S 2013 show- that solidarity with struggle was established. Wearable fashion with a political message - it may just be time to join the Diesel revolution.