Monday 8th October

| BY 10Magazine


If you go to the About bit on the Diesel Black Gold website, it says, “you don’t have to be an alchemist to break down the different components of Diesel Black Gold”. Right on, sister. But there’s something about the word “alchemist” that struck a cord with us. So we naturally turned to Google… 

Alchemy: the medieval forerunner of chemistry, based on the supposed transformation of matter, esp. that of base metals into gold. The term itself is derived from the Ancient Greek chemeia or chemia with the addition of the Arabic definite article al-. The ancient Greek word may have been derived from a version of the Egyptian name for Egypt, which was itself based on the Ancient Egyptian word keme (hieroglyphic Khmi, black earth, as opposed to desert sand). The origin of Western alchemy may generally be traced to Hellenistic Egypt. The Hellenistic city of Alexandria was a centre of Greek alchemical knowledge. Alexandria acted as a meting pot for philosophies of Pythagoreanism, Platonism, Stoicism and Gnosticism, which formed the origin of alchemy’s character. An important example of alchemy’s roots in Greek philosophy, originated by Empedocies and developed by Aristotle, was that all things in the universe were formed from only four elements: earth, air, water and fire. According to Aristotle, each element had a sphere to which it belonged and to which it would return if left undisturbed.

If you were to change some of the words in the above Wikipedia extract – for example, substitute alchemy for Diesel Black Gold, Aristotle for Sophia Kokosalaki, elements for fashions – it could read as an analogy of Sophia’s work at Diesel Black Gold. Both involve gold, both in name and transformation of base elements, namely fabric and thread into “gold”. The philosophy of both is formed around four elements. In the case of Diesel’s pre-collection they would be: the coat or jacket (masculine in cut, trapeze in shape, with a wide lapel. Think of it as a flared pea coat that, in some cases, has been elongated into a mac); the dress (drapey, yes – almost as though the fabric has just been flung at the girl and left to hang. It might look nonchalant, but it isn’t. Such hang requires serious pattern-cutting skill); the trouser (tight and leather, or fluid and long, widening into a slight flare at the ankle; and leather (adds a toughness to the delicate femininity of the draped pieces and sheer fabrics). As with the elements, each piece can be worn with any of the others, forming new outfit combinations. It’s like the new compact wardrobe. Four easy pieces to see you though anything.

by Natalie Dembinska