PLAY­ING IT COOL

What does it take to be a cult denim la­bel? Global CEO Alessan­dro Bogli­olo tells jacquie ang about the lengths they go to make Diesel de­sir­able

Prestige (Singapore) - - FASHION -

alessan­dro bogli­olo re­mem­bers his first Diesel jeans. It was the 1990s, and it was a low-rise pair in light blue with a slightly flared leg. A world of dif­fer­ence from the rigid denims he was used to, the fit and com­fort sur­prised him. So too did the price. “I hes­i­tated for a while be­fore I handed my credit card over,” he con­fesses. “And then it took about three sec­onds for me to re­alise that I wasn’t just pay­ing for a pair of jeans — I was buy­ing a beau­ti­ful piece of fash­ion. Un­til then, jeans was just an­other blue pants to me.”

As proof of how well Diesel stands up against the test of time, he still has that same pair of jeans. “I wear it oc­ca­sion­ally. The colour is much lighter now but it’s still beau­ti­ful,” says Bogli­olo, who was re­cently in town to visit the brand’s Paragon bou­tique, which re­opened in March af­ter a hia­tus.

Men­tion Diesel and a fash­ion rebel comes to mind. To stay on top of the game, founder Renzo Rosso en­listed Ital­ian-ja­panese stylist Ni­cola Formichetti (best known for push­ing fash­ion bound­aries with Lady Gaga) as artis­tic di­rec­tor and Bogli­olo (for­merly from Bul­gari) as global CEO in 2013. To­gether, they em­barked on the ma­jor #Diesel­re­boot project, mod­ernising and el­e­vat­ing the brand while restor­ing its orig­i­nal DNA, and keep­ing it ut­terly cool.

Not want­ing to run the risk of Diesel be­ing seen as just a run-ofthe-mill denim brand, the com­pany left the mar­ket while changes were un­der­way. “We wanted to re­turn, recharged with a to­tal new look and con­cept,” Bogli­olo ex­plains. “We don’t want to ex­pand our lines or stores and be­come huge; we pre­fer to be cool for now.”

To­day, the brand’s de­signs are even bet­ter built. Al­ready clever it­er­a­tions, such as the rev­o­lu­tion­ary Jogg Jeans (a jersey-denim hy­brid with the look and dura­bil­ity of denim but the com­fort of sweat­pants) have been en­hanced. New-gen ver­sions are even softer and with a bet­ter drape. “We have been in­vest­ing a lot in fab­ri­ca­tions. Tech­ni­cal in­no­va­tions like this set our jeans apart from tra­di­tional denim and other brands,” he shares.

Signs of Diesel’s re­birth can also be seen from its new 138 sqm Paragon store, which is decked out in leather, dark metal and stain­less steel ac­cents — a re­fine­ment of the in­dus­trial aes­thetic it bran­dished in the 1990s. Gen­der-neu­tral, it also speaks to the shared lan­guage Formichetti has es­tab­lished for the men’s and women’s col­lec­tions

But what’s the se­cret to cool? “By be­ing faith­ful to the brand per­son­al­ity and not tak­ing it to places it doesn’t be­long,” replies Bogli­olo. “We may lose big business op­por­tu­ni­ties for not cre­at­ing prod­ucts that sell well, but when you don’t stick to who you are, no­body recog­nises you.”

clock­wise From top: Alessan­dro Bogli­olo HAS Been A Diesel client since the 1990s; cus­tomise Your JEANS with Dif­fer­ent kinds of riv­ets; the rev­o­lu­tion­ary JOGG JEANS

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