Though fashion is not likely to change the world, it is “inherently seditious, offering profound challenges to existing structures in the terms that are viable to them,” according to author and cultural critic Alison Bancroft. In her book Fashion & Psychoanalysis: Styling the Self, she argues that though fashion doesn’t necessarily change the world, it is the realm where taboos, hidden and unconscious problems of subjectivity are challenged and brought in to public arena. This line of thought resonates with Nicola Formichetti, Diesel’s Artistic Director, whose casting approach for Diesel’s 2017 Fall Winter campaign aimed to find fascinating people with interesting features.
The brand released Go with the Flaw, a short film that rebels against unattainable beauty norms and celebrates the power of flawed perfection. Directed by Francis Rousselet, the film portrays the lives of a group of carefree youngsters as they standout from the crowd, having embraced their imperfections such as bad skin, scars, a unibrow, braces and cross-eyes. It’s set to Edith Piaf’s 1959 hit “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” (“No, I Regret Nothing”), an anthem from a woman who herself was imperfect— on scenery that is everything but glamorous varying from a shabby convenience store, a dusty brown bar, a dirty trailer and a beaten up car.
Challenging te status quo, the campaign embodies the spirit of the Diesel brand, which over the decades has always promoted an unconventional, frisky approach to life. For example in 2010, when the company launched the “Be Stupid” viral campaign, which celebrated a risky, reckless, emotional attitude.
In keeping with the philosophy behind the new campaign, Diesel also rebooted its Instagram account by deleting all the edited images posted so far. The brand released a short statement and explained; “we think perfection is boring, and especially on Instagram everybody seeks perfection. Perfect photo, perfect picture, perfect life. And we are just tired of it. So we decided to delete everything for an imperfect new beginning.” A bold move in a time when Social Media propagates perfection and narcissism through filters and planted scenarios, and a far cry from the days when beauty only meant having a perfect face and flawless skin.
Fashion has changed a lot in the passed two decades or so, in the way it sees itself and how it is presented to the world. At the same time it has remained the same, in the way that it continues to answer to the times we live in, holding a mirror up to the Zeitgeist. In 2017 this is that beauty is heterogeneous and perfection is a bore— in a world that, in itself, is far from perfect.