Among all the soft visions of vernal bliss and comfort we’ve encountered this Spring 2009 New York Fashion Week, it was refreshing to see a collection throw a hard-edged punch into the mix, proving that rock and roll’s influence is still alive and well on the runway. Diesel’s Black and Gold show hit between the eyes: titled “Layers of Time”, the 55 look-collection explored libertine decadence via refined, yet distressed denim, military tailoring, and even punk-themed appropriation of luxe plumage.
The first thing we all noticed was that that Diesel stuck a feather in their cap, literally : these were mostly bobby helmets, captain caps, and other traditional millinery given outrageously vain new identities by the incorporation of quills. On both men and women, they became irreverant headresses, and the perfect accessory to complement the polished grunge elegance of the clothing.
Diesel’s milieu is denim, and they put imaginative use to their medium in many of the looks, using advanced bleaching and dyeing processes to render the fabric nearly unidentifiable. Best of all was when denim was upgraded to textile art by way of swirled and marbled hand-painting on dresses, skirts, and tunics. Black lace inserts achieved a baroque feel, as did judicious usage of feathers again on jackets and vests and boleros. Instead of gaudiness, though, the overall shadowy feel of the collection was maintained by the contrast of statement pieces against minimalist styling and a monochromatic palette of neutrals.
Cumberbunds were used as belts and cavalry jackets were stylishly thrown on with haphazard ease. Clearly, creative director Wilbert Das was having a bit off a laugh at the old guard’s expense: uniforms stripped of their codification become campy streetwear. The postmodern humor translated into individual standout pieces, as did occasional bursts of color that popped up on leather blazers (a particularly nice seafoam one looked amazing on Georgina Stojilkovic) and on the shoes (citron suede booties carefully offset all the grays and beiges).
Overall, Diesel Black & Gold provided an enormously entertaining collection that more often felt like a rock performance (thank you Pierces, Kills, Patti Smith, for elevating the atmosphere tenfold) than a simple runway show. In pulling off Spring 2009’s vision so cogently, we were again convinced that this premium denim label’s ambitions – and its scope – are nobler than simply making great jeans.
High resolution photos courteously given to Sassybella by Diesel: