Contemporary Classics

Inspired by the Libertine poets of the 19th century and the punk era in the 1970’s, Diesel Black Gold creative director Wilbert Das booted the womanly-man trend out the door. As of late, menswear collections have featured models in skin-tight shorts, skinny jeans only a women could squeeze into, and long, shiny flowing hair. At the spring 2009 Diesel Black Gold show, men walked the runways as if they had just rolled out of bed and threw on last night’s t-shirt, which was already worn three times this week. Zippers, chains, buttons, and epaulets added high drama to the grimy downtown vibe of the collection.

Cool colors that will transcend all seasons included dark blue, white, cream, light blue, yellow, grey, and shades of indigo. Pops of color made it down the runway with some models rocking bright yellow booties and one model wearing a turquoise jacket. The results provided us with a collection that was delicate yet edgy; sophisticated yet distressed. Biker inspired pieces were recreated in ultra-soft fabrics such as jersey, poplin, muslin, cotton and buttery leather. One model wore a shirt reminiscent to that of a motorcycle jacket but instead of creating the blouse in black leather, Das created the shirt using light blue jersey material. To highlight the idea of the Libertine poets, feathers adorned many pieces in the collection.

Like the one-shoulder and halter, overalls made a comeback this season with men and women rocking the runway in loose, distressed overalls. In shades of cream, white, and bleached denim, Das paired the quintessential farmer’s go to item with white, crisp button down shirts, white jersey t-shirts, and feathered boleros. Das left no room for the tailored menswear garb that is visible in today’s trends and magazines.

Some favorites of the collection included an off the shoulder, horizontally striped jersey t-shirt, paired with a long, skirt in different shades of blue. A cummerbund substituted as a belt was another nod to the 19th century while the leather, cream colored booties provided a modern twist.  Another favorite was a thy-grazing mini-dress in different shades of blue and black, paired with a suede bootie. The dress was adorned with feathers, and looped metal pieces to give the otherwise feminine dress an edgy, rocker vibe.

Although much of Das’ collection was punk inspired, he showed some classic pieces with fresh twist. Model Ariel Meredith stomped the runway in a light and dark blue plaid trench coat and finished the look off with a black top hat decorated with black feathers. Meredith wore denim booties with a clunky heel “to contrast with the slenderness of the female leg,” as written by Das.

To complete the collection, Val Garland at Streeters London and the MAC Pro Team kept models fresh faced to contrast with the tough look of the collection. Blue eye shadow was splashed across eyelids and lips were kept nude to also shatter that idea that women need fifteen pounds of makeup to look “fresh-faced.” Laurent Philippon for Bumble and Bumble kept the hair messy and even went so far as to make the roots greasy to further emphasize Das’ direction. Instead of doing old school versus new school, Das’ melded classic and contemporary ideas to create a look that accurately described Das’ theme of “Layers of Time.”

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