Cast your mind back to the early 2000s when slouchy shoulder bags were all the rage. Mary-Kate and Ashley had yet to discover their penchant for slugging around well-loved roomy totes, and musical duo t.A.T.u was single-handily spearheading the shirtless tie trend that recently made a return on the autumn/winter 2022 runways. Everyday underarm bags, in particular, were less distinctive and were more of an afterthought, rather than the centrepiece. Fast forward to 2022, and designers such as Diesel’s Glenn Martens have ensured micro bags remain a focal point this summer.
Since the announcement of his appointment as creative director back in October 2020 – adding to his already extensive resumé, which currently includes heading up Y/Project’s creative division – the fashion polymath has had all eyes on him. The highly revered creative, who cut his teeth at Jean Paul Gaultier, brought his can’t-be-tamed vision to Gaultier during his haute couture takeover in January. His reimagining of trompe-l’œil prints (which were ubiquitous on the Y/Project runway) was a much-discussed moment at the start of the year. And fashion editors are currently lusting after every single item from the Diesel autumn/winter 2022 collection. Diesel-mania is sweeping the globe – just take a look at Dua Lipa’s wardrobe.
Martens’s interpretation of leather goods has been particularly fascinating to watch. The conventional hallmarks of a classic Diesel bag are still present – think noticeable branding and sturdy handles – but Martens has injected much of his off-beat signature codes into the brand’s napa leather bag line. Colourways are bold, construction is scaled down, and they are purposefully non-gender-specific, with elements of Y2K-tastic detailing. “We compressed the brand’s DNA into accessories,” Martens tells. “[The] 1DR bag is straight-forward, easy, sexy, genderless and fun – which, ultimately, are exactly Diesel’s key values.”
A-listers are queuing up to own a piece of the reworked line, and the 1DR bag, in particular, has captured the attention of It-girls globally. Julia Fox was spotted clutching the canary-yellow mini-bag at the show in February. Over on the ’gram, Megan Thee Stallion dedicated an entire carousel to her rose-gold Diesel ensemble with a matching bag, earning over two million likes. Recently, style chameleon Paloma Elsesser added an all-white model to her everyday uniform, and Gossip Girl actor Whitney Peak is rarely seen without her short-strap shoulder bag. “The 1DR bag is a definitive hit,” says British Vogue’s fashion & accessories editor, Donna Wallace. “It’s an easily identifiable accessory, which speaks to the current 2000s renaissance; it’s satisfying to see a brand front and centre of its own moment of appreciation.”