Ecstatic moaning on the soundtrack and 200,000 boxes of Durex condoms on the runway both suggested Glenn Martens had one thing on his mind: market penetration. During a preview the designer foreplayed that in April Diesel would be handing out half a million free company-branded Durex prophylactics in its stores around the world (where legal). There was a Big-D x Durex logo capsule collection too.
“Successful living is about being sex-positive, having fun, enjoying life, and also being respectful and safe,” said Martens pre-show. “Plus we are a very cheeky, straightforward brand.” Also cheeky were the first look’s low-low rise jeans—bumsters redux—whose moto styling accelerated us into this collection. As is de rigueur at this house, denim innovation was front and center. Devoré denim saw patches of jeans, skirts, and jackets—sometimes bolstered with shearling—fade into sheer panels of meshed lace. This luxurified distressed jean motif was then ingeniously echoed in the patterning of crystal-etched dresses and in the overprinted pale fade patterns on tailored workwear-shape gray pinstripe pieces.
This phase merged into a sort of Mad Max x Y2K sequence of nomadically shaped knitwear that had been finely plucked by laser into attractively wild, apparent disrepair. Two cleverly tufted knitwear pieces—one pink on black, the other gray on black—were there to reflect Marten’s stylistic penchant for grown-out hair dye. Painted and over-layered utility wear in a subtly wild paint-splash camo contrasted with double layered jersey pieces from which the outer sometimes was peeled back to reveal the inner. Dresses in slight swatches or ripped strips of silk hung faux-precariously from fine chain fittings. Digitally distorted pictures of over-toothed smiles were used as close up prints on a particularly successful phase of near-climax fits.
The wildest pieces of all were from the hand-fashioned artisanal section; these included a long jacket of layered lining and a moto jacket that referred back to the opener artistically melted and then layered with another skin—accidentally vaguely condom-like in consistency—of membrane. Martens said rightly that he believes his Diesel design language is becoming ever more distinctly identifiable. “It’s all about not being scared and not going backwards,” he said. Company founder Renzo Rosso, the one who swiped right on the decision to ask Martens to reform Diesel from top to bottom, looked satisfied too.