Andreas Melbostad’s Diesel Black Gold, Three Years In

Next week, fashion industry movers-and-shakers will flock to Milan for the annual menswear shows. Among those presenting on Monday is Diesel Black Gold, the edgy, rock-and-roll inspired, ready-to-wear brand from the Diesel family. For the past three years, Andreas Melbostad, the London-trained, Norway-raised former director of Phi, has acted as creative director and menswear designer for the label. “It feels good to reach this stage where we feel quite established with our identity,” Melbostad says over the phone. “I think people have a very clear idea of who we are and I think internally we found the voice for who we want to be.”

Under his direction, Melbostad has taken DBG from a plucky spin-off (it launched in 2008) to a global powerhouse. The line takes Diesel’s classic, denim-and-leather-heavy DNA and ramps it up with a touch more sophistication. In recent collections, Melbostad has been particularly focused on straddling the line between luxury and utilitarianism.

“The collection really builds on what I call the ‘iconic’ staples,” Melbostad explains of Monday’s forthcoming menswear presentation. “We tried to juxtapose these staples in a different way; we created new hybrids using these references. When I say iconic pieces, I’m thinking about the bomber jacket or biker jacket, or jean jacket. So there’s a sense of familiarity to all of the pieces in the collection. They all build around pieces that everybody owns and wears and loves. It’s sort of an urban uniform.”

For Spring/Summer 2017, Melbostad began with the idea of workwear. “I thought there was a way to tap into workwear and use it as an inspiration to create modern icons for the wardrobe of today,” he says. “We started playing a lot with the silhouette in the last two seasons where we kind of would shrink things down or make things bigger and more oversized. I wanted to continue this play, but shift the proportions and create something new and different for this season.”

As with anything Diesel, the collection channels a certain rebellious spirit. “I love the idea of counter-culture,” Melbostad remakrs. “I love the energy that it brings and this idea of playing with established codes. It’s really about the mix of these references and how it kind of balances to give the right appeal. Sort of a new proposal of something that’s quite familiar, let’s say.”