In the pre-pandemic days, there was nothing buzzier in fashion than a collaboration. LV x Supreme, Juicy Couture x Vetements, Serena Williams x Nike x Off-White all set the market abuzz with new items and new ideas. How do you collaborate in an isolated era when it’s harder than ever to make a human connection? Diesel has a solution: Collaborate with yourself.
The brand is debuting a capsule collection called Diesel x Diesel today that rethinks its signature pieces. It’s not as egomaniacal as it might sound. In October 2020, Diesel hired Y/Project’s Glenn Martens as creative director. The Diesel x Diesel capsule sees Martens collaborate with Diesel’s founder, Renzo Rosso, in a first exercise to establish a new Diesel vernacular.
“When I arrived at Diesel, its founder Renzo Rosso was working on a unique, temporal take on fashion collaboration: past Diesel and present Diesel. He was studying how to fuse the label’s heritage within the context, and outlook, of the year 2021. Then and now, together. I thought, what better a place to begin? I embraced this vision and I am proud to have worked alongside him in amplifying what you see here, today,” Martens explains, in a brand statemetn. “In some ways, it symbolizes the passing of the proverbial baton; we are celebrating Diesel’s background as we steer into a new era, and I am excited about the direction in which we are heading.”
The Diesel x Diesel capsule carries all the trappings of its 40-year heritage: a greenish medium wash, an irreverent melange of styles, and an in-your-face attitude. Varsity bomber jackets and straight leg pants make up a bulk of the initial offering, unisex garments with plenty of patches and playful energy. Campaign imagery of models with exaggerated smiles evoke the Diesel, For Successful Living ads of the aughts, setting up Martens’s tenure as one with equally provocative ideas.
But as wacky as it might sound, collaborating with oneself isn’t entirely new new. In 2015, A.P.C.’s Jean Touitou created an A.P.C. x A.P.C. collection of black Grecian dresses in partnership with himself. Chances are Diesel x Diesel won’t be the last introspective collab either: The longer COVID lockdown and travel bans continue, the more personal collaborations are going to get.