Remember when boho meant little more than a coin-belt and a floaty skirt? Not anymore. The same wanderlust codes might be there – fringing, embellishment, smocks – but there’s a new take on this free-spirited form of dressing. It’s got guts, it’s got energy, it’s got something to say – and we want in. This is boho for the 21st Century.
The Diesel Black Gold FW18 collection – which was shown in Milan earlier this week –showcased the new boho in all its denim and leather clad glory. Creative director Andreas Melbostad was, he explains, thinking about communities and the galvanising feeling of togetherness during times of political and economic turbulence. ‘For me it’s really fascinating to find “Oh I have an activist side”, which is completely new for me. I always liked to be informed and care about issues but this is a really different emotion. Living in the US, you become aware of things in a different way,’ he tells us. ‘I wouldn’t say the show or my fashion is any sort of political statement, but I wanted to celebrate something and liked the diversity, there’s so much beauty in it.'
For Melbostad this spirit of celebration translated into an energetic collection that celebrated diversity: peasant smocks with Romanian embroidery, denim dresses that call to mind Syrian tunics, Chinese Hmong skirts reimaged as patchwork denim versions, Navajo-inspired embellishment, Palestinian-style embroideries and a standout Mongolian coat this editor wants immediately. (The new jean shape, FYI? Super-slit flares). Finished with multi-braided hair, tribal tattoo-style markings and fringed boots the effect was part Mad Max, part Burning Man, part Kate Moss circa 2005. And that’s a good thing. Is it too soon to be thinking about your festival wardrobe? Absolutely not.
What unity doesn’t mean, however, is homogeny. The Diesel Black Gold is a celebration of diversity – something Melbostad admits the industry has had a problem with in the past. ‘I think it does have a problem for sure, and it’s strange in this day and age but I do think it’s getting better. Things are moving forward and backward. It’s not a linear thing’. Change is afoot, however: ‘A sense of individuality and individual beauty and alternative beauty is coming through more and more,’ says Melbostad. ‘There is a real excitement about it, it’s not forced. I think that’s going to drive a system that’s used to operating in a different way.’ The revolution starts here