Diesel trucks in its latest collection ― literallyThe invitation to Diesel’s 2005-2006 fall and winter collection ― a mock sheriff’s badge ― was in keeping with its typical shoot ’em up, no holds barred fashion shows.
The Italian brand, launched in Korea in 2003 by Shinsegae International, a local trading company, has staged annual blockbuster fashion shows that have shocked, awed and inspired fashion industry professionals.
So grand in scale are the shows that fashion designers and fashionistas alike have been thoroughly “Dieselized,” a newly coined term expressing the strong influence of the brand, which is best known for its cool urban attitude through ragged jeans.
In Korea, the so-called “Dieselization” began with the brand’s launching of the 2003 fall and winter collection in a posh Chinese restaurant in Apgujeong-dong that was attended by 1,200 people.
The number rose to 1,500 last year when it had a second show at the COEX Convention Center in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul. Diesel now has one flagship store and 12 boutiques inside department stores nationwide.
This year, about 2,000 spectators turned up at the COEX Convention Center last Friday night to become part of this year’s biggest event in the Korean fashion industry. And the production proved that an hour-long wait for the show ― made shorter by a round of cocktails ― was worthwhile after all.
There was a moment of sheer awe when a red curtain rose, revealing one wall bearing a neon-lit sheriff’s badge. An American truck rolled onto the empty, vast floor, pulling an entire 25-meter long, 1.7-meter high catwalk.
The funky soundtrack mostly consisted of remakes of old classics, such as the Bee Gees’ “Staying Alive” and Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus,” suggesting that the retro fashion inspired by cowboys a la the 1970s and 1980s will continue into the colder seasons. Twenty Korean models, both men and women, presented four themes: “Trukistans,” “Silk Rush,” “Bolshoi Abandoned” and “Russian Roulette.”
The four stages, images from which were simultaneously projected onto two wall-size screens, divided the 70 outfits seasonally, from light in September to layers for in-between seasons and a heavier look for January, as well as glammed-up casual attire for formal occasions.
Noticeable items in the modern vintage look for urban dwellers included vintage-style drain pipe jeans, close-fitting fur-trimmed jackets, calf-high Western boots and funky Stetsons for clubbing.
For the Diesel look, avoid in any case the cold and bold colors of a glass-and-concrete city. Instead, think desert flowers with warm, terra-cotta-based hues ― violet, mauve, beige, taupe and the like found in the Arizona desert.
The real trick of the presentation was that neither the show nor the subsequent party directly promoted the brand or its famous red logo, a promotion strategy known as “presence marketing,” according to a Shinsegae marketing representative.
“We treat customers as sophisticated individuals, who can naturally understand the brand based on experience and become interested in the culture,” she said. “So we tried to transmit the brand’s culture, not by flashing the logo but by offering the Diesel atmosphere.”
by Ines Cho
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