Diesel doesn’t do runway shows, it does 7,000-capacity hardcore techno festivals in the pouring rain, that double as a runway show to top all runway shows that have ever come before it. Indeed, this was the case for Glenn Martens’ Diesel Spring/Summer 2024 extravaganza at Milan Fashion Week, which brought much more to Milan than just some of Martens’ most incredible work to date.
It starts and ends with an eight-hour-long free rave, open to the general public and students, per Martens’ commitment to uplifting and celebrating what makes fashion so great – the often overlooked inclusivity. Fans of the brand and Milan Fashion Week attendees alike don’t just get to witness a monolithic runway, they get to see their favourite celebrities – in this case, everyone from Charli XCX to Jaden Smith, Culted’s very own host Gabriette, or more controversially, Tommy Cash. We could capture all of the happenings on Diesel’s show invite, notably a customised YASHICA film camera, and get up-close with the show thanks to a screen that measured 26 metres by 16 metres, broadcasting the catwalk as it unfolded.
That catwalk, by the way, was also drenched in rain. As the show started the heavens opened, but as Lady Gaga once said: “We got free rain. Roll. The cameras.” And what a show the models gave us, strutting with a thump to every BPM that blared from Diesel’s festival-fit set-up.
It was pure drama in all the best ways. Rain, cascading from the skies onto models who were already glistening in metallic body paint or had their faces covered in cracked gypsum plaster to look like ageing sculptures, added a sense of command – this is a show you’ll never forget.
As for the looks, Martens proved his ability to keep building on the foundations he has laid for Diesel. He has turned the brand into something of a cult icon, and he does so with shows such as this. Spring/Summer 2024 presented everything from denim coated in silver and grey shadowing, overpainted pencil skirts, tight denim boots, double waist-band denim cargo pants, and elongated antique-finished denim blazer coats, to the rather brilliantly creative and absurdly artistic.
Shreds of denim were torn and pieced together to create a dress that revealed all and nothing at the same time. The Diesel “D” emblem was turned into a three-dimensional mini skirt, and a head piece. Denim was honeycombed like a fruit shopping net bag and distorted the idea of how items of clothing move with and on the body. Leather trousers were cut with D-shaped detailing for a cheeky peephole moment. Barbiecore went grunge with a distressed embellished dress and complementing pantaboots. There was even skin tight flesh-like latex bodysuits featured in a collection that also had a “Prototype” retrofuturistic approach to a tracksuit, a multitude of intelligently-cut lace ensembles, and towards the end, a dash of high-end chic sophistication.
Unexpected it may be, but it goes to show the breadth of Diesel, and thus Glen Martens’ talents. To conclude, while the gargantuan screen was airing the red-flooded runway and playing heavy hardcore beats, Diesel opted to send a little silky black slip skirt and a hooded halter neck bralette-wearing model down the runway.
The energy was unmatched, something few other shows have ever managed to achieve. It was rebellious, exquisite, dramatic, and filled with unmissable moments. And thanks to the rain, all this and more was elevated to a godly status – a fantastic fashion show to remember.
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