After 30 years, Diesel still fuels hot fashion in Japan
LIVIN’ AND LOVIN’ - Tetta Ortiz Matera (The Philippine Star) - September 21, 2016 - 12:00am

Tokyo, Japan — Japan  always played and still plays a big part in Diesel’s global success,” flashed the digital teleprompter just before the evening’s celebrations started.

True to form, Diesel pulled out all stops to convey this message in one unforgettable night. From the archive exhibition to the see-now, buy-now catwalk show, then a brand project with fashion photographer Terry Richardson, Diesel’s 30th-year anniversary was a banging success.

Japan’s  most influential fashion Instagrammers, celebrities, musicians, artists and fans came out in full force to show their love for Diesel; trendsetting Japanese “It” girls Kiko Mizuhara and Rola opened and closed the runway show, respectively.

The clothes from the autumn/winter 2016 collection were a heady mix of rock, military and sports-influenced pieces, with Diesel denim taking center stage.

The venue, a graffiti-filled underground station complete with “yatais” (street food stalls) and neon signs, plus live music supplied by two of Tokyo’s top DJs, set the tone for one hyper-energetic evening of Diesel fashion.

The self-confessed “Japanese at heart” artistic director of Diesel, Nichola Formichetti — who shared with a few of us at a global press dinner his preference for an Asian breakfast of rice with fish and miso soup or Chinese dumplings over caffé and brioche — was clearly pumped for the 30th-anniversary shindig.

“Japan is where I was born and it has always played a prominent role in my creative process, being a constant source of inspiration, a huge part of who I am,” he said. The half-Japanese, half-Italian designer champions hybrid culture through his work, curating the evening’s exhibition of archived Diesel looks from 1978 to the present.

He also created and included in the runway lineup a Japan-only collection of bias-cut denims and Jogg jeans utility wear alongside collaborations with cult menswear designer N. Hoolywood and Yuko Koike, recipient of the OTB award at the Diesel Talent showcase IT’S 2015. These limited and exclusive pieces are now available online and in-store and will be featured in a special Isetan pop-up store to commemorate Japan-Italy Friendship Year 2016.

In a highly competitive industry where some brands go boom and bust, and certain labels go from “must-have” to “ must-not-be-seen-wearing,” Diesel has been a low-key yet influential fashion mainstay that has consistently served up a wide range of successful clothing and accessories that have defied fashion norms since 1978. Coveted for its distinctly unique look, impeccable finishing, clever branding, and commercial appeal without being mass market, Diesel has since become the choice for premium casual wear.

Diesel has come a long way from being a leading pioneer in denim and Renzo Rosso, the founder and the president of the brand, acknowledges Japan’s role in its evolution. “I have always been in love with Japan; I visit the country regularly, as does our design team,” he says. “This special anniversary is dedicated to Diesel’s Japanese supporters, who always push us to do more, better.”

In line with its cool, constantly “pushing the envelope” marketing campaign, the evening culminated with the premiere of Diesel’s upcoming project with audacious American fashion photographer Terry Richardson entitled #forsuccessfulliving. Fifty motivational phrases relating to Diesel’s philosophy will be expressed in 50 riveting colorful photo images, conveying the brand’s tips to us about living well, staying true and doing things differently. The #forsuccessfulliving exhibition will travel worldwide and may be converted into a book, a source from within the Diesel marketing team said. Next stops are Shanghai, London, Milan and New York, all in 2017.

“Celebrating 30 years of Diesel in Japan is a match made in heaven; I can’t wait,” said Formichetti the day before the show. Judging from the crowd’s enthusiastic reception, including mine, it was undoubtedly worth the wait.

 

 

 

 

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Diesel is exclusively distributed by Stores Specialists, Inc. in the Philippines.

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Follow me on Instagram @tettaortiz.

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