Diesel, London College of Fashion Say It With Flowers in Covent Garden

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FLOWER CHILDREN: Diesel artistic director Nicola Formichetti has selected five post-graduate students at London College of Fashion to stage a month's creative takeover of the brand's Covent Garden boutique.

Their concept, which launched on Thursday night, embraces the history of Covent Garden and its 19th-century flower girls, poor young women — some of them prostitutes — who scraped a living selling blooms.

The ground floor boasts a flower market, courtesy of the hip East London florist Grace & Thorn, while the lower level has been transformed into a gentlemen's club, complete with a male grooming station, a nod to the area's once notorious nightlife. The upper level will host a series of pop-ups over the month, including a juice bar. Visual merchandising, including window displays and interior graphics, also form part of the overall concept.

"Supporting young talent and fostering creativity is something very dear to me and to Diesel," Formichetti said. "It is by supporting those new talents that we are helping create the creative minds of tomorrow."

The winning students, Eshaan Dhingra, Griselda Ibarra, Irene Rodriguez, Laksamee Jong and Maxime Laprade, were chosen from five competing groups. Their specialist studies range from fashion curation to fashion entrepreneurship and innovation, fashion media production and strategic fashion marketing. The Diesel project counts toward one of the units in their MA course.

"The brand wanted to link the store to the area, so we looked into the history and came up with the idea of flower girls who became prostitutes at night," Laprade said. Incorporating the colors of the fall 2016 collection, each of the store's three floors corresponds to a different part of the girls' day.

"At the start, we had all these crazy ideas, but the brand helped us to narrow it down to what was realistic," Dhingra said. "We initially wanted to cover the exterior of the store in denim flowers, but the council doesn't allow that. It's an awesome feeling seeing our idea come to fruition."

Launch party entertainment featured floral crown-making tutorials by Grace & Thorn in a deconstructed greenhouse, a live jazz band and temporary floral tattoos by Dominique Holmes, plus floral-themed cocktails and hand-painted macaroons by cult confectioners, the Unhampered Girls.

The grooming parlor and juice bar will operate on specific days throughout the month via the brand's CRM loyalty program, with bouquets by Grace & Thorn coming gratis for customers who spend above a certain level.

The next step in Diesel's ongoing commitment to nurturing emerging talent is a collaboration with the young Japanese designer Yuko Koike to celebrate its 30th anniversary in Tokyo. A launch event on Sept. 6 will feature a live-streamed "see-now-buy-now" fashion show, a film, an exhibition and a secret installation to be revealed on the night.

The Covent Garden store takeover will run until Sept. 12.


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