Milan Fashion Week: Diesel SS23

By Sylvia Shoshan

Diesel opened up their Milan Fashion Week show to the public for the first time with a limited release of 3000 tickets. Here’s how it went…

Glenn Martens (Diesel’s Creative Director since 2020) has been rapidly breaking barriers in the industry with his ‘anti-luxury’ approach to the brand and the democratisation of fashion. His SS23 collection brought this vision to life.

The show was held at Milan’s Allianz Cloud stadium, fitting for the thousands of guests that were in attendance and the record-breaking inflatable (which we will get to in a bit). The queue outside, albeit nearly an hour long, also did not disappoint as it was almost a fashion show in itself with the wait made more enjoyable by the streetwear spectacle. Thousands of Diesel fans dressed in anything from last season’s collection and D-logos, to distressed denim and DIY ensembles were lining the pavements. 




Sylvia’s own images

On finally entering, we were met with a dark, red-lit room and the giant vaguely provocative inflatable sculpture, which now holds a Guinness World Record. As we waited for the show to start with the ominous pulsing music, I could see the Front Row celebs filing in and the photographers closely following with bright lamps. In attendance were the likes of Julia Fox, Lil Dre, Normani, and Skepta to name a few, but they were well separated from the likes of us, the general public, with little chance to catch a glimpse up close. The highly charged atmosphere of anticipation and excitement was only helped by the thousands of young people who were given their first chance at attending a fashion week show, given access to an industry notorious for its exclusivity. This democratic showcase was a slick move by Martens and helps Diesel’s whole anti-luxury image, removing the seriousness held by a lot of other brands and an accessibility for the younger generations.

The show opened with a sequence of denim looks such as bra tops, distressed dresses, shredded jeans and baggy trenches. This stayed true to Diesel’s heritage as a denim brand and brought a playfulness to the traditional utilitarian nature of the fabric.

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Image Credits; Vogue Runway

This subversive fraying and fragmenting was seen throughout the collection, also paired with more delicate accents such as mesh and lace, which was a fresh take for the brand and I look forward to seeing more of this in the future. Each piece had a finish that brought that little something extra, such as cargos with a layer of chiffon over the top or distressed hems mimicking faux fur trims. One coat was even made up entirely from 15,000 distressed Diesel labels, with the result resembling fur. Martens also played with colour, such as neon lace inserts, metallic pinks, and flaming oranges. Everything felt perfectly intentional and with an immaculate execution. 

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Image Credits: Vogue Runway

Martens did a brilliant job of embodying the Diesel heritage of structural denims whilst bringing the newer flowing silhouettes of chiffon skirts and loose cargos. There was something for everyone with the versatile denim expertise creating everything from denim overcoats and typical jeans, to denim jersey and denim transitioning into mesh. Then we saw the floating utility-wear channelling an almost ‘Gorpcore’ aesthetic with oversized cargo trousers and dresses delicately constructed to create a post-apocalyptic feel. These really stood out to me as Martens proved his creative genius and that Diesel’s expertise doesn’t end with denim. We also got to see our favourites from last season with the 1DR bag and belt skirt making another appearance.

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Image Credits: Vogue Runway

In the words of Martens himself, “Everybody can be a part of Diesel”. Let’s hope he continues allowing the public to experience his shows and remains on this strong trajectory, with potentially more brands following suit.

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