See, Touch, Shop

Fast times means fast fash­ion isn’t just about high street any more and Diesel is lead­ing the way

Augustman - - Behind The Seams - WORDS DAR­REN HO PHOTOS DIESEL

THE TERRADA ART COM­PLEX, lo­cated near the har­bour front of the Ki­tashina­gawa area of Tokyo, is a per­fect ex­am­ple of the Ja­panese mode of busi­ness. Owned by a stor­age com­pany of the same name, this ware­house fa­cil­ity con­verted into an artis­tic com­plex has grown over the last two years as a de­sign space with re­tail stu­dios, cafes and stores. It also runs a res­i­dence pro­gramme for for­eign artists with its very own art award. Tonight, the gallery has been trans­formed. Be­fore us are graf­fiti walls and dis­plays with vin­tage den­imwear that Gucci’s Alessan­dro Michele would ap­prove. In the mi­lieu, in­flu­encers and In­ter­net celebri­ties from the East to West are pos­ing for their own cam­eras and phones, up­load­ing con­tent to garner eye­balls. I over­hear one mar­keter telling a col­league, “10 mil­lion view­ers will be watch­ing Diesel tonight. That’s based on con­ser­va­tive es­ti­mates.”

The setup for the #DieselJa­pan30 show tonight is in­tense. There’s a long run­way that’s set up like an old train sta­tion, com­plete with bill­boards of vin­tage and new Diesel ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paigns from the three decades that the fash­ion la­bel has been in the coun­try. Around the corner, the drinks booth has a sign say­ing “Bar” in flick­er­ing blue neon lights, fac­ing other food stores. Blade Run­ner much? One can al­most pic­ture Har­ri­son Ford sit­ting in front of the dumpling store.

Diesel is cel­e­brat­ing 30 years in Ja­pan, its big­gest mar­ket in East Asia and one of its ear­li­est part­ners out­side of Europe after its owner Renzo Russo es­tab­lished the brand in 1978. The show also serves as a ma­jor state­ment on how it in­tends to evolve for the fu­ture. While the Black Gold busi­ness will con­tinue to bal­ance street style with high fash­ion qual­ity, the main line is about to start col­lab­o­rat­ing with other brands, some­thing that it’s never done be­fore.

Cre­ative di­rec­tor Ni­cola Formichetti is jump­ing head­first into the sea of col­lab­o­ra­tions. The run­way show this evening features three dif­fer­ent cap­sule col­lec­tions ‒ one with N.Hooly­wood, another with Yuko Koike, an emerg­ing artist whose work in fash­ion won her an award by Diesel’s hold­ing firm Only the Brave last year, and the last with Porter, whose bags are cov­eted around the world.

The brand is call­ing th­ese col­lec­tions cap­sules in part be­cause they fea­ture two ranges that are by Diesel, spe­cially de­signed by Formichetti for Ja­pan. Th­ese in­clude T-shirts, jeans and a denim jacket worked with leather de­tails, and play­ing on the coun­try’s colours (in­ci­den­tally, also Sin­ga­pore’s colours, so if you’re feel­ing pa­tri­otic...).

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