Dansaert is a unique fashion district. Full of crumbling buildings and crumbling facades. On this gray autumn day in Belgium, art galleries, designer shops, and luxury restaurants seem to be hiding. Pedestrians walk through their labyrinthine cobbled streets between brick-colored ships, jewels of Flemish architecture and dreadful post-war buildings. It is precisely here that the headquarters of a company that is emerging from the shadow with its costumes of the renowned firms, like Loro Piana and Zegna: Scabal.
A silver-gray BMW 5 Series slides elegantly onto the cobblestones. From it comes Detlev Diehm, Scabal’s new creative director, who gently strokes the door handle to lock the car. His dark gray American virgin wool looks flawless, and he wears it with tight denim and reddish brown Chelsea boots. Diehm, born in 1965, quickly runs his hand through his hair and smoothes the collar of his shirt. He is a modern businessman … and is determined to radically transform a traditional brand. He is the perfect man for Scabal. Diehm has been producing successes in the world of men’s fashion for 20 years. And enjoy your work: “The good thing about the suit is that you are well dressed in any situation”. The designer began his apprenticeship in his hometown, Augsburg, with the best local tailor. He studied fashion and worked for the big brands, like Valentino and Hugo Boss. At the beginning of the millennium, he helped the regent, almost forgotten, a manufacturer of costumes to start a new stage of splendor. Regent suddenly began to be seen everywhere: in fashion shows, in blogs or on the red carpet of film festivals. Thanks to Diehm.
I value quality: combined with a truly modern elegance.
Demanding and quality: Detlev Diehm in his work. Scabal has founded almost 80 years ago, and to date, it is considered one of the best suppliers of fabrics in the world.
Now it’s Scabies turn. The traditional brand, founded in 1938, has to land in the 21st century. Its design must recover a contemporary style. New business suits for a new business world, new classy models for the night locker. That is clear lines and an elegant cut. Not the carved elegance of accented shoulder pads you like in Italy. Or the angular courts of the United States. Diehm values the tradition of English dress. We look for a relaxed elegance, he explains. An authentic look that matches the DNA of the signature. With a company whose roots are in the art of weaving. And he has always paid attention to how a garment remains, how its bearer feels. Today drives the new BMW 5 Series. Renovation: a factor that has always liked his work. Diehm is based on the artisan tradition and yet it is a man immersed in modernity. When designing your designs think smartphones and tablets, devices that characterize our daily life. To accommodate them, place special pockets in their suits. Because for him, the suit is a work tool that one carries at all times. In fact, it has always been like that … but now the demands have changed.
Always on the way: Detlev Diehm moves endlessly between his residence in Munich, his workplace in Brussels and the partner companies in Germany and Great Britain.
Behind the gray facades of the Dansaert district in Brussels are the best restaurants in the city and the central Scabal. Before them, the BMW 5 Series with the new Luxury Line elegantly poses a model that, thanks to BMW ConnectedDrive and EfficientDynamics, looks tailor-made by designer Detlev Diehm.
Mobility and interconnection: key elements of the work of a creative director. The image of the designer in his workshop with the tape measure and pencil has long been obsolete. For Diehm, being responsible for four ready-to-wear collections a year involves traveling regularly to Germany to attend meetings with affiliated companies. He often moves to London or to a place lost in Britain: Huddersfield, in Yorkshire, the English version of Biella, the Italian capital of fabric. This is where Scabal produces the best raw material for its costumes … and for those of the great fashion labels like Thom Browne, Hermès or Prada. Chains, threads, half-yards, meter after meter, bale after bale. I do not really stop traveling between my residence in Munich and the worlds of Scabal, says Diehm. Crossing borders are as characteristic of your lifestyle as of your way of communicating. He is fascinated by the possibilities offered by BMW ConnectedDrive technologies, such as the useful connection between car and smartphone, fast navigation or e-mail. This is for him modern mobility.
Despite his technological enthusiasm, Diehm needs the feeling of being connected to the earth. And a suit brings this sensation. Its texture reminds her of the Yorkshire sheep meadows, a London tailoring with its particular smell of horsehair, wool, and chalk. I want the work and the material to be honored, he says. It is important to know where things come from and how much effort it takes to make them work so as not to make them an ephemeral good, as is often the case with fashion. Diehm values sustainability. A requirement that also finds in BMW. In its TwinTurbo engines of high efficiency, its intelligent management of energy and its construction is especially light. I wanted an eco-friendly car that had enough space for the family, he says. Only after this, look at the pleasure of driving that can offer me. His gaze shifts from his BMW to the old brick building in which Scabal stores his canvases. The new workshops will soon be housed here. In a glass cube that will rise above the old walls. Diehm is looking forward to the move. He slides up to the leather seat, starts and leaves. He heads to London, to Munich.
The BMW 5 Series is the perfect business model. It seduces by its elegance, its comfort and its dynamism of high efficiency. The new generation, equipped with the Modern and Luxury lines and with the M sports package, offers plenty of room for individuality. The Luxury line accentuates the classic and elegant design: on the outside with elements of gleaming chrome, like the bars of the grill, and the interior with details of noble woods and upholstery of high-quality leather. BMW ConnectedDrive smart services and applications – such as concierge service or numerous office functions – and driver assistance systems, such as the BMW Head-Up Display, make driving an even safer and more comfortable pleasure.