Andreas Melbostad of Diesel Black Gold on “technical” design
Andreas Melbostad, global creative director for Diesel Black Gold, revealed his SS16 menswear collection in Milan earlier this summer.
Titled “Urban Safari”, the collection unleashed adventure and exploration in its final looks. The designer focused heavily on fabric treatment and innovation, stretching the core values in men’s fashion over new territories.
In his edited interview below, Melbostad shares steps of his design process, his daily routine, and his advice on wardrobe essentials this season.
Tell us about the latest Diesel Black Gold collection, the overall theme and inspiration behind it.
For Spring ’16 I wanted to give the collection the spirit of adventure and exploration. The title was “Urban Safari”. It was the idea of safari in an industrial setting. I wanted to give a modernist abstract approach, while focusing on utilitarian and urban elements rooted in a stark masculine aesthetic.
What were some of the top innovative material introductions or treatments highlighted in the collection?
The study and innovation of denim are naturally part of the Diesel Black Gold DNA. This season, we cut skinny jeans extra-long and crushed them onto the leg, giving a new textured accordion
effect. Another core material is leather. We worked to give it new exaggerated volumes, contrasting the lean and slim fit. We also merged biker staples with metal grommets and
An important introduction was suede. We cut it into iconic jackets, or treated it in a slim, elongated trench. I was also very inspired by crisp clean cotton, so we created hybrid shorts in different cotton poplins, shirting the idea of outerwear detailing and constructions.
The bonded cotton twill was also generously used in survival safari jackets and vests, featuring multiple pockets and industrial detailing. The same utility idea was also introduced in the tailoring, borrowing cargo detailing and applying them to classic tailored shapes.
So far, how do you think you have synchronised the identity or overall image of the brand between menswear and women’s wear?
The goal is to create a cohesive, clear and distinct vision for both collections. I love authentic and iconic pieces, and this is mostly the inspiration behind the collections.
The men’s is more direct, as building blocks are more familiar, and mostly focus on the idea of a wardrobe. The identity is given to each piece through the cut, construction, detailing and fabrication. The women’s collection has a similar approach, but with a deeper focus on silhouettes achieved through using volumes and lengths.
How do you manage going back and forth between Italy and New York so frequently?
I first came to New York with Calvin Klein 14 years ago. The city became home and I love living here, with its energy and attitude. I travel a lot for work and this keeps me in touch with my European roots, helping me balance my life.
What are three items one can always find in your travel bag?
A great pair of jeans, a black t-shirt and a black shirt are essential. I almost approach dressing as a personal uniform. More statement pieces come in the form of sneakers, leather jackets and outerwear.
Walk us through one of your days, from the moment you wake up until you go back to bed.
My days can be quite different depending on where I am and at which stage of the season we’re at. When in New York, I like to wake up early, mostly the result of a constant jetlag. Italy’s office is naturally up-and-running by the time I’m up, so the day often starts with a full inbox of emails. Then I get to “real” work: creative research or design work. I’m very hands-on with the process, so this time is very important.
By noon, I meet my personal trainer to take a break in the day and get some much-needed physical activity. After lunch I am usually back to continue my design study. Evenings are dedicated to friends. Most of my social life happens over dinner in a restaurant.
When in Italy, the day is slightly different. I spend most of my time with the team, reviewing prototypes, fittings, meetings and presentations.
Do you have any specific rituals you engage in when designing, something that helps your creativity to flow? And how do you deal with creative designer block?
While I have my cherished collection of design books, I am an intense online researcher, looking for ideas and building concepts for collections. This usually happens throughout the season and helps me evolve my vision and communicate
concepts to my team. I have a very technical approach to the design process, creating detailed technical sketches to develop the construction of every piece. It’s a tedious job, but an essential one to my design exploration.
Describe a typical Diesel Black Gold man: who are you targeting?
It’s about the attitude. I love to think of individuals with a great sense of self, who enjoy and express themselves. I want to give people strength and confidence in my collections. My irreverent attitude [or] approach is very similar to men and women.
When it comes to men, I think they define themselves through their core choices, so designs are about wardrobe staples. One can create tension by repositioning established values and push the ideas of masculinity to new territories.
What trends caught your interest recently?
I am personally inspired by the “new” volumes. I think menswear today is evolving the ideas of a masculine silhouette and I think this opens up for new ideas code.
What are three essentials items for a men’s wardrobe this fall/winter season?
Outerwear is always number one. I love great leather jackets, a great pair of jeans and the new approach to a core dress.