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Diesel Only the Brave Tattoo

Translating the tattoo experience into fragrance form

by Isabelle Doal in Style on 17 April 2012

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Exploring another form of signature for the body, the new Diesel fragrance, Only the Brave Tattoo, treats the skin as a true, basic and raw material to express one's identity. Only the Brave finds inspiration in the deeply rooted tradition of marking the body with an everlasting imprint, seeking to inaugurate a new man with the traditional masculine traits of toughness and courage.

The fragrance marks yet another component to the lifestyle Diesel aims to create amidst a universe characterized by the rebel attitude of street art and LA's inked community. The sculptural bottle comprises a clenched black fist designed by the famous Mr Cartoon tattoo artist. The scent blends base notes of tobacco, benzoin, patchouli and amber, with sexy overtones of pepper and sage and refreshing green qualities that keep the inherently male scent from being too heavy.

We talked to Diesel founder Renzo Rosso to learn more.

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Is it a requirement for a fashion brand to make its own fragrance?

Since it completes the lifestyle, it is very important. It is easy to create clothing, but how to transfer a lifestyle into a fragrance—this is the difficulty. Creating a fragrance is a risky challenge by itself, considering the fact that about 300 new perfumes are launched on the market every year and that about 90% of those don't meet any success. We were lucky to meet our partner, L'Oréal, who made it all easier for us and granted us a dedicated team that tirelessly visited our stores all over the world and met our clients and really went deep into our mentality to transfer it into the bottle. This fragrance is a part of the Diesel attitude. Each time we do something, it is because it is meaningful. We keep telling a story.

Can you tell us more about the new Diesel man that goes along with this new fragrance?

This is really connected with who we are. With the two fragrances, Only the Brave and Only the Brave Tattoo, we have these two men with two different attitudes that we have tried to show on the visuals of the campaign. It seems they are about to fight, but at the end the important thing is the communication between them. While one is more classic, brave and strong, the tattooed man is more mysterious, more rough and sexy, and at the end, more rock 'n' roll. Rock attitude is something very important to our lines now.

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Does it represent a shift in Diesel strategy?

There is definitely a repositioning of the brand. We are trying diversify by creating a real lifestyle focused on our own identity and DNA. We aim to improve the quality of our products by making more in Italy, for example. I think what you can see in our stores is becoming more beautiful. We aim to be more exclusive.

This new man is not only more rock 'n' roll, he also seems more mature.

Yes, we have this new line Diesel Black Gold. The preview of the first men's collection was shown last week in Milan, and it marks a higher positioning for us. We are enlarging the scope of our audience, enabling people to find a style according to what they are and what they can afford. There is a lifestyle for everyone.

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Since a tattoo is an imprint, a mark, a signature on the skin, how do you transfer that into a perfume?

I'm going to tell you the story. It all started with the bottle. It was my 55th birthday, which is a special anniversary for I was born in 1955. Fifty-five is my magic number. I wanted to give my friends a gift, so I had my hand sculpted into a bottle that was all black and customized with Only the Brave. It was such a success and everybody liked it so much that we decided this bottle should be distributed worldwide. I have these tattoos on my hand as well. So I thought I could do something out of this. Then I met Mr Cartoon who I found to be very much like me—he has a sense of honor and creativity, and he's crazy. He designed the bottle and the logotype. After that, I asked L'Oréal to make a new perfume and translate my new rock 'n' roll attitude, my mentality, my passion, my positive energy into a perfume. This perfume completes the first Only the Brave fragrance, which was somehow fresher, younger and casual, and pushes it further—this one is more aggressive.

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The bottle and packaging is all black and white.

It is more than black and white, it is very strong. I wish it could have been black only! Black and white makes it very chic.

What about the connection with LA? Do you find inspiration in LA's culture and street art?

I am a fan of the Rose Bowl flea market in LA. I spend hours there with my sons. I always come back with so many ideas. I like art in general, modern art, like at the Art Basel exhibition in Miami. If you take the bottle Only the Brave, the clenched fist is something the artist Cesar has made in his sculptures. We try to find inspiration in the streets where there's life.

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What is inspiring you in music and culture?

Anything can be inspiring. Last time I went to Tokyo, I was so impressed by everything I saw in the fruit shops especially the packagings. I can be inspired by people in the street, by what they wear, or by places like Reykjavik, Covent garden and, above all, flea markets. I also enjoy speaking with young artists and trying to know more about why they create. This opens your brain.

Is there any advice you have for young artists or entrepreneurs?

I dislike art being too provocative. Art must open your body and make people be happy. I like to see happy endings!

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