Nicola's Diesel debut

The ELLE verdict

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It's a year now since Nicola Formichetti was appointed Creative Director of Diesel and he's been drip feeding us capsule collections and special projects ever since while he slowly immersed himself in the brand and worked out what really makes it tick. But last night was the big reveal; the grand unveiling of his first full collection and a mammoth catwalk show.

This was no understated debut, either. He flew fashion's most influential to Venice, the city where the brand began and a mere stone's throw from its global headquarters, and shipped them, quite literally to the flame-lit Arsenale, a beautiful brick former naval factory.

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Courtney Love, Amber le Bon and Viktor and Rolf joined Renzo Russo on bleachers to watch what unfolded. Films directed by Nick Knight were projected onto huge screens at the top of the catwalk, atmospheric, arty productions starring the super-toned bodies of members of various ballet companies. There were three, one for each section of the show; Leather Rock 'n' Roll, Denim and Military Uniform.

The clothes? Pure Diesel, but better. Short leather dresses and tough leather jackets wound with zips and skinny leather trousers with cropped tops. Denim in every possible treatment and wash; printed and graffitied jackets with sleeves encrusted with studs, tie-dye skinny jeans worn with grungy plaid shirts and boyfriend jeans sported with more midriffs. And huge parkas and jackets piled with shearling worn with cargo pants and colourful striped jumpers. Formichetti has set about updating and reinventing the brand's core rather than trying to come up with something new, and he has a canny knack for pinning down what his uber-cool tribe of followers will want to wear.

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He's also found himself a new muse, peroxide blonde rapper Brooke Candy, who performed clad in black leather hot pants, bra to and lace-up thigh high boots before joining Formichetti for his bow, whipping her top off and sticking her fingers up to the audience.

'She's so amazing, so so so so cool,' he told us. 'I feel like that excitement when I first met Gaga. She has that possibility, and this excitement of what you can do with her and where she can go. I'm not saying that they're similar but they have that same energy; they're über humans. Aliens, I call them.'

The finale, a tribute to Pussy Riot, saw the hundred plus models line up in rows sporting balaclavas topped with red or blue fur Mohawks, the Diesel gang in all its glory. Formichetti was an inspired choice for this gig and it seems as though he has truly fallen in love with the brand. 'I'm not trying to do something or trying to become something this is me so it just kind of fitted,' he told us. 'I have a really close relationship with Renzo, that's the key. We're so close. This year he's injected me with all the DNA of Diesel, he's like, now you have to take care and watch over it for the next 35 years.'

A match made in heaven.