On Madison Avenue, there’s a new Diesel store that contravenes the industry norm. No Black Friday sale. No Cyber Monday sale. No polished limestone facade.
“It was a quiet, silent opening,” said Alessandro Bogliolo, chief executive officer.
Last Friday, as the rest of the industry scrambled for holiday shoppers with doorbusters and cyber deals, Dieseldiscreetly opened its shop at 625 Madison Avenue on the southeast corner of 59th Street, though there is nothing subdued about the exterior. It’s a photo catalytic, self-cleaning, three-dimensional cement facade that recalls the signature V-pattern stitching on the back pockets of Diesel jeans.
Equally detached from the industry cacophony was the soft opening of another Diesel store last Friday, a 2,700-square-foot boutique on the second level of The Shops at Columbus Circle, on Manhattan’s West Side.
Diesel — the 38-year-old, $1 billion fashion brand that’s rooted in innovative denim, leather embellished with studs, safety pins and zippers and a punk rock aura — is honing its niche. It’s about “rebooting” the brand not re-engineering its DNA, and about being high-end and edgy, without the pretensions of luxury. “We want to be the coolest among the biggest brands — not the biggest brand,” Bogliolo said.
“We don’t want to be too influenced by fashion trends. We’ll acknowledge them, but we do our own thing,” added Nicola Formichetti, Diesel’s artistic director. “We never do clean and simple. There is always a detail. Even with our high heels, there is some toughness to it. There is something that makes it very Diesel — metal hardware, leather, denim, sparkle.”
Formichetti and Bogliolo, who have each worked at Diesel for the past two years, are being interviewed together for the first time. So what better setting than the new Madison Avenue store. It’s a relatively small space — 2,800 square feet for selling — yet it qualifies as the flagship and not merely because of the prominent location. The unit represents the first leg of a multiyear journey to revamp Diesel’s network of retail stores for greater sophistication and intimacy, and to elevate the brand image and product. One hundred twenty locations are expected to incorporate the design concept in the next three years. Of those, 100 will be refitted to the format or relocated to the format, and 20 to 25 new stores, primarily in China and Japan, will open with the interior design. The company is also planning to renovate its Milan flagship, the biggest store in the chain, to incorporate exhibition space, food, beverages and other concepts.
“It will be experiential for sure,” said Formichetti.
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