by Alex R. Travers
Edgy is a puny word to describe a Diesel Black Gold collection. These are clothes that get your pulse racing, clothes for people who want to be a part of what’s happening in fashion right now (just go check who sat front row for Spring ’14). Starting with a glam rock, Chelsea girl aesthetic and building from there, Norwegian designer Andreas Melbostad—with his fifth showing for the contemporary Diesel label—ignites a firestorm, creating a killer of a Pre-Fall collection that confirms his reputation as one of fashion’s favorites. If Melbostad’s mission is to create a vocabulary for the brand (as he did at Phi), he’s well on his way to crafting a clearly defined, luscious lexicon. And with an overall look that successfully marries fierceness with femininity, Diesel Black Gold is poised to pack some serious punches in the seasons to come.
Melbostad shows a sharp eye for the techniques that mark what it is to be a contemporary New York label with a global presence. But he doesn’t let that overshadow his creative process. He’s been groomed for things beyond in-your-face grit. In fact, he understands fashion from the inside out, not just in his fabrics and media, but in imagination. His clothes have a strong dialogue, one that seems to match the feelings of Catherine Deneuve’s character in Belle de Jour: the tough leather bikers over the oh-so-delicate laces, say, or the crude studs on the sleeves of the soft Georgette viscose blouses echo every good girl’s urge to be a little bad.
For this Pre-Fall collection, perhaps it’s only that femme fatale we see at first glance. But underneath her rough edge lies something equally advantageous for Melbostad’s Black Gold: delicacy. Take, for instance, the leather mini skirts with girly peplum flares or those lovely Gerogette slips in python camo prints. Even the denims are carefully ripped by hand, re-constructed, coated, and re-coated, all taking up to three to five hours—per pair—to finish. Then there’s his Lyocell shirts, which have been designed to give a distressed ombré effect to a fabric that’s utterly soft to the touch.
It’s through these methods that Melbostad fuses his stylistic polish with that ever-so-popular athletic toughness to construct his version of Diesel Black Gold, keeping us attuned to the pleasures of the unexpected. And who better to chart such a world than Melbostad? Even with roughest and toughest girls out there, you’ll find some tenderness within.