Big D Energy. Diesel Resort 2023

From sustainability to Julia Fox, Glenn Martens’s first 18 months at Diesel have been dedicated to aligning the 1978-founded denim disruptor with both the deeper values and shallower preoccupations of now. In this resort 2023 collection he continued that mission through a further two-pronged emphasis on the serious and the superficial, with both sides of that binary expressed via Martens’s expertly twisted aesthetic. The serious bedrock continues to be in expanding the sustainable operations of this hybrid house. A reconfigured, jersey-specific core line named Diesel Essentials will from this collection forward be made from all-organic cotton, trimmed in recycled materials, and finished with “low impact” treatments and prints. Prime examples here included a fluoro trio of ruched asymmetrical skirts worn under a hoodie, tee, and turtle. On the side, Martens expanded the recently-launched Diesel Rehab Denim capsule – made from denim off-cuts, recycled cotton, and recycled elastane – into pieces including the season’s decadently pocketed utility pants and padded jackets. He added that a for-now exclusively Italian pilot scheme to buy-back and repurpose vintage Diesel through resale or upcycling is showing promising results. This responsible practice lends Martens’s Diesel ample clear-of-conscience wiggle room to play around with the brand’s ethos, which he said is: “to have fun, enjoy life, and be successful in every situation that you are in.” Highlights for sybarites included trompe-l’oeil bumsterish cut jeans for women and men, those ornamentally utilitarian pieces, acres of (sustainable) distressed and sometimes-waterproofed denim, retro-futuristic and logo-heavy clingy metallic knit dresses, gothically scripted skintight motowear, and a surprising diversion into tailoring. With Martens at the helm, Diesel has in short order pretty much defined its new manifesto of sustainable semi-seditious sexiness.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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Tensions. Khaite Resort 2023

Khaite‘s resort 2023 collection, as Cate Holstein went on to explain, picks up where the “sharp, stealth New York woman” aesthetic of her autumn-winter runway left off. Let’s say there’s a whole lot of badassery happening, from the leather chokers that accent nearly every look on down to the blunt-toed boots. Leather outerwear is a foundational category at Khaite. Cropped motorcycle jackets mingle with oversized bombers, including one that opens the lookbook with heavy-duty studding at the shoulders. The tailoring, in leather and otherwise, takes its proportions from menswear. “We’re predominantly a feminine brand,” Holstein said, “but in order to bring out that femininity you have to have elements of men’s, otherwise it goes in a girly direction, which we try to steer clear from.” It’s not that there aren’t girly embellishments here. Sequins are another recurring motif, as seen on a shift dress with a mock turtleneck as easy-wearing as a t-shirt and on a slip dress that grazes the ankle. The most novel pieces however involved not surface treatments, but volume play. A yoke-waisted skirt that ballooned out to the knees and a plissé shirtdress with poet sleeves were surprise hits of sweetness amidst the collection’s stealth glamour.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
Don’t forget to follow Design & Culture by Ed on Instagram!

NET-A-PORTER Limited