By Sonia Tita Puopolo
The Denim Gallery features on-going art exhibitions to coincide with Diesel’s “wearable art.”
Renzo Rosso, creator of Diesel, is a visionary entrepreneur. He surrounds himself with creative, talented people – innovators who, like him, reject the slavish trend following typical of the fashion industry. When creating Diesel, he wanted to create the most dynamic and imaginative product available anywhere. Today, his award-winning brand has worldwide recognition as an industry leader. Here, Renzo Rosso and his son Stefano discuss with Haute Living their inspirations, their Miami Beach hotel The Pelican, and what the future has in store.
HL What inspires the Diesel brand?
RR When I founded the company in 1978, I wanted it to be a leader, a company that took chances and carved out a niche for itself in its field. My motto is “Diesel is not my company, it’s my life”.
HL The Pelican Hotel, owned by Diesel, is a classic Art Deco style Hotel – so different from the Diesel brand, which is urban chic. Why?
SR It’s the perfect South Beach expression of the company’s vibe: quirky, state-of-the-art, paradoxical, extravagant, kitsch and nonsensical. Pelican Hotel is a Fifties’ Art Déco hotel designed and decorated by Diesel’s creative staff. All thirty rooms present a surreal variety of movie-sets: each is filled with recycled furniture and objects, and named after its own theme.
HL Do you plan to ever create a Diesel Hotel Brand?
RR Diesel has been the first fashion brand creating a “design” hotel: when we opened the Pelican it was something absolutely new for the fashion world. We don’t like the idea of “branding” in itself: everything we do must be unpredictable, unique and original, and this is true for our projects, our events as well as for our collections – from apparel to accessories, from jewellery to the next product we’ll launch.
HL The Diesel Brand can be found worldwide from cities like Boston and New York to Jeddah and Istanbul. How do you explain that? What next?
SR The company views the world as a single, border-less macro-culture. It’s not just a matter of geography: eclectic personalities with strong, authentic ideas are very Diesel, and this is true all over the world, somehow they are part of an “international culture”. To constantly monitor this international community, we have offices in over thirty countries: this gives us a “closer to the street” perspective, allowing us to be represented by people that are part of that local country and culture.
HL Where is your favorite place in the world?
RR I love Bassano del Grappa, the place I live in and where my family and friends are: but New York is always the most inspiring and creative city, whilst Miami is my favorite place to spend holidays!
HL Diesel is known to celebrate and promote upcoming artists – why and how do you choose the artist?
SR Art is a major platform for Diesel, and in this field we have diverse opportunities, including projects such as DIESEL WALL, which challenges contemporary artists to decorate blank city center walls; the project features this year exhibitions in Milan, Toronto, Copenhagen, and Beijing. Winners in each city are chosen through and internationally renowned jury panel. Another initiative is DIESEL NEW ART – an international online gallery and creative competition designed to support up and coming artists.
We also promote artists and wearable art through our Diesel Denim Gallery stores in New York and Osaka. The Denim Gallery features on-going art exhibitions to coincide with Diesel’s “wearable art.” Each artist is hand-picked by Diesel Creative Team, and are usually emerging, international forces.
HL How do you best spend your time?
RR I like to spend my free time with my family and my friends, and have good time with them, eating good, natural food, having fun, and relaxing.
HL What is the 5 year forecast for Diesel?
RR My goal for Diesel is become the “coolest” of the biggest!