Words by Ashleigh Gribbon
‘Diesel is disruptive and rebellious; it’s fun and sexy; it’s about right now.’ Creative director Glenn Martens’ bold vision for Diesel has given the four-decades-old Italian brand a fresh lease of life. Belgian designer Martens, who cut his teeth at Jean Paul Gaultier, was appointed back in October 2020; since then, he has reenergized its classic denim signatures with his fresh, forward-thinking perspective.
In short, Diesel is the brand of the moment, and an ever-increasing number of A-list celebrities (see: Rihanna, Julia Fox, Bella Hadid et al) have become fans of Martens’ cult pieces, certifying the ‘New Diesel’ era. For spring/summer 2023, this vibe shift plays out in Martens’ self-coined ‘Diesel recipe’: denim and utility pieces form the foundations, with a welcome dose of ‘pop’ and ‘extravaganza’ setting the tone. Ahead of shopping the new offering, discover more about Diesel’s white-hot styles — starring a new exclusive 1DR bag — and all the need-to-know details, as Martens reveals his direction for the brand.
Denim done differently
The recent resurgence of early-noughties style brings with it a renewed obsession with Diesel’s signature: denim. Glenn Martens’ reenergized take on the brand’s cornerstone fabric aligns perfectly to this new mood. The designer applies textural interest and unexpected washes to wearable shapes in the Diesel Library line, which debuted for spring/summer. This collection of essential styles takes an evergreen approach to denim, with 50% of the collection having a permanent shelf life.
‘Diesel Library consists of essential denim pieces — five-pocket jeans, dresses and jackets — with a genderless approach,’ explains Martens on the new line. ‘It brings sustainability to the forefront of the process; a fusion of Diesel’s denim expertise with innovations towards a better future. Every piece is designed to minimize impact, incorporating responsibly sourced cotton and other environmentally preferred materials and trims, as well as washes and finishes designed to limit water and chemical usage.’ Expect experimental finishes and a modern mix of materials, as well as offbeat colors and graphics.
A wave-making category in Martens’ reenergization comes via Diesel’s highly coveted bag collection. Again tuning into Y2K design tropes, Diesel’s 1DR shoulder bag has been an instant hit for its kitsch shape and high-octane colorways. The list of tastemakers carrying the 1DR is impressive — Megan Thee Stallion dedicated an Instagram carousel to her head-to-toe look, complete with a rose-gold 1DR; supermodel and FARFETCH campaign star Paloma Elsesser has been seen sporting the all-white design; and ‘Gossip Girl’ actor Whitney Peak finished a lo-fi 90s look with the canary-yellow rendition.
The Diesel 1DR bag’s sellout styles include the silver, white, black and pink colorways, with the hotly anticipated release of a new finish — a metallic gold design — being among fall’s most wanted. Both designs are exclusive to FARFETCH and Diesel, so take our advice: run, don’t walk to shop these soon-to-sell-out releases. The 1DR bag is best stored in a dust bag and cleaned using a damp cloth to ensure its pristine condition for as long as possible.
Diesel’s perennial coats and jackets — puffers, shearling, bombers and denim — have also felt the Glenn Martens treatment, given added interest via fabric combinations and impactful colors. ‘Diesel is famous for being a democratic brand but this doesn’t mean that we can’t be conceptual by injecting research and experimentation into essential pieces,’ says Martens. ‘I’m known to be very experimental, and being experimental with Diesel [focuses] more on garments, their surfaces, mixed materials and graphics.’
This season’s standouts come via the shearling-trimmed leather jacket and a modern take on the ubiquitous biker jacket. Each design translates to a broad size offering, with pieces aligning to universal clothing standards — from XXS to XXXL — and, generally speaking, fit true to size across these conversions. A Medium, for example, translates to a US size 6-8, or a size 42 in Italian measurements. We recommend opting for your regular size, though it’s worth considering that the streetwear-inspired pieces are designed for an oversized fit, so you may wish to size down depending on your preferred look.
Wishlist-worthy boots and shoes
Playing into Martens’ love of the 2000s, the house’s reenergized footwear line sees classic shapes revised with splashy logos and denim options. The D-Venus 100mm slingback pumps are a standout style, updated through Martens’ experimental lens each season — the pointed-toe design accented with signature D-logo hardware gets an acid-wash, denim-effect update for fall/winter 2022, which is perfectly attuned to the season’s mood for offbeat partywear. This key design translates into covetable boots too, with the second-skin D-Venus boots realized in both denim and classic black.
When it comes to these most-wanted styles, each design fits true to traditional European sizing — a size 38 measures up to a US size 7.5 and a UK size 5, for example. In terms of styling, the D-Venus designs’ retro denim renditions are best served head-to-toe this fall — look to the brand’s micro dresses and mini-skirt/denim-corset combinations.
The finishing touches
The reinvention of ‘old Diesel’ hallmarks — most notably the D-logo, via hardware finishes — is central to Glenn Martens’ new vision, particularly in new-season accessories. For a smaller piece that maximizes on style, the D-hardware belts — available in classic brown and black, as well as metallic and diamanté designs — lean into the trend we saw shape the spring/summer 2023 runways (belts, belts and more belts).
Testament to the vibrancy and optimism that comes with radical change, Martens’ new Diesel tunes into the mindset of today’s youth. ‘[Diesel is] full-on, with the volume turned up loud,’ notes Martens. ‘It’s also socially responsible. It’s all the same energy. It’s how young people are today — they party, they push life to extremes, they stand up for their beliefs and their community.’ Martens’ ability to tap into this collective consciousness is creating a meaningful brand that connects with new fans beyond its aesthetics. The brand of the moment is here to stay, so shop the full collection of women’s and menswear on FARFETCH now.