Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Introducing DIESEL Only the Brave

Diesel Shifts Into High Gear With Only the Brave
by Melissa Drier // From WWD ISSUE 01/23/2008

BERLIN — Diesel is taking a bold-fisted approach with its first solo men’s fragrance, Only the Brave.

Always one to break the mold, the new Diesel scent is bottled in a smoky, gray flacon in the shape of a clenched fist, branded by a silver Diesel silver ring on the third and fourth fingers. It was inspired by Diesel founder Renzo Rosso’s own hand, particularly the RR finger tattoos, which he gave himself for his 50th birthday.
Only the Brave, which was produced by Diesel’s fragrance licensee, L’Oréal, is set to roll out in almost 30,000 doors globally, starting in Germany at the end of March, France in mid-April and the rest of the world in May. In addition, a customized edition of the eau de toilette, designed by three “street” artists, is slated for September.
The range comprises 30-, 50- and 75-ml. eau de toilette sprays, priced at 33, 49 and 67 euros, respectively (or $42.50, $63 and $86.50 at current exchange rates), plus 100-ml. aftershave lotion and balm (51 and 38.90 euros or $65.75 and $50) 200-ml. shower gel (25.50 euros or $33) and 150-ml. deo spray (25.70 euros or $33).
The scent’s name is also directly linked to Rosso through his holding company, which is also called Only the Brave. It encompasses Diesel and Rosso’s other interests — the Maison Martin Margiela and Viktor & Rolf brands. In addition, his Staff International makes and distributes ready-to-wear ranges for Sophia Kokosalaki, Dsquared, Vivienne Westwood and, as of next season, Marc Jacobs Men.

L’Oréal asked if they could have something important for the new fragrance. And they got my hand and my name,” Rosso said, laughing. Only the Brave is also the name of his charitable foundation, which is currently developing what he would only call “an incredible new project. We’ll say more in a year’s time. But the name of the fragrance could help build awareness of the group and, more importantly, the foundation.”

L’Oréal, on the other hand, is banking on Only the Brave to again place Diesel among the world’s top five scents. L’Oréal executives declined to specify the sales target, but industry sources estimate that a men’s fragrance would have to generate $70 million at retail to land in the top five.

When L’Oréal launched its first men’s and women’s Diesel fragrances, Fuel for Life, in 2007, the goal was to be among the top 10. “And we achieved the top five and six positions” reported Ladan Lari, international managing director of Diesel fragrances. “Now we’re aiming for the top five. It’s not easy to have two perfumes in that position,” she said, noting only one other L’Oréal brand, Armani, has pulled it off. “But Only te Brave is a very different universe than Fuel for Life. It’s more artsy, more masculine. And we want them to coexist at retail.”

The oriental, woody, and leathery juice, developed by International Flavors & Fragrance’s Aliénor Massenet, Olivier Polge & Pierre Wargnye, bravely plays with opposites. It starts with a masculine and fashion-related note of leather. “But because Diesel is a joyful brand, it’s lightened up with lemon,” Lari [Ladan Lari, Diesel's International Marketing Director] said, and broken with dry woody cedar notes and amber.

L’Oréal and the Diesel creative team are still cooking up a screen ad for Only the Brave, but the campaign for print, billboard and point-of-sale features a triple-pack of black-and-white portraits. British photographer Platon, who has photographed any number of famous persons of conviction, including President Barack Obama, was invited to turn his lens on model, actor and former Madonna flame Tony Ward, as well as two other young men of determination and will. None are identified in the ads.

A new woman’s Diesel perfume is also in the pipeline. “It won’t be Only the Brave, but it will be emblematic of Diesel’s values and passions,” Lari said.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Nikki - Hawa****










When Artiste United Records announced the sign up of its inaugural artiste Nicolette Louisa Palikat  aka Nikki almost four years ago, many were skeptical of the Malaysian Idol finalist chances of making it in the domestic music industry. After all, she only made it to the Top 6 stage of the popular talent competition. Just what X-factor did diva Ning Baizura and manager extraordinaire Vernon Kedit-Jolly saw in this petite girl from Tambunan, Sabah?

Well, all doubts were cast aside when Nikki released her debut album Maharani in 2005 to much critical acclaim, an album so good that it even has its own Wikipedia entry! Though undeservingly shunned at the AIM awards at that time, Nikki did bag the Best New Female Artiste title at the 2006 APM awards and the 2006 Anugerah ERA award for Most Popular Duo/Group Performance for Caramu (featuring Zahid). Nevertheless, the overwhelming breakout success of Caramu had unfortunately overshadowed the release of the other singles. Which was a shame as album the featured many hit worthy cuts.

So, in releasing the following up album three years later, how does one top Caramu?  By refocusing the limelight and attention back to the artiste:  its all about Nikki in this album. (Which perhaps is why the Romeo & Juliet  duet with Ebi was omitted from the final track listing). In HAWA, Nikki continues to eschew the underlying theme of female empowerment from its predecessor while also chronicling the ups and downs in love and life. Nikki's vocals also have grown in maturity. While the debut effort bears influence from her mentor, this time around she sounds assuredly herself. She is also upping the ante by expanding on her soprano prowess and whistling technique which the general public has come to identify as her trademark.

Upbeat songs are definitely Nikki's forte: HAWA opens up with the sexy, sassy stomper CANTIK then continues with the youthful, full of attitude pop-rock song TAK PERLU which is very in-the-moment and should do well on radio. Guys, you better be warned that the lady means business if she demands you return her Maharani CD! The party continues as 'N-I-double K-I' is definitely in da' house in the funky PRETTY LIKE ME. But the title track HAWA could be Nikki's most sophisticated (and most sensual) club anthem yet, with its ethno trance and electronica vibes punctuated by a slick drum-laden beat. The inclusion of the tribal percussion interlude just begs for Nikki to strut some killer dance moves if there is to be a music video (hint hint)!

Nikki also reveals here softer side in a number of ballads. Of all songs in the album, the easy going first single RELAKAN would most remind fans of her earlier efforts, while BABY BABY showcases a surprisingly country twang, perhaps the first in a Malaysian song! Meanwhile, the Mariah-esque BELAS-MU finds Nikki in a spiritual and contemplative mode while in the breezy and laid back  SEMALAM DAN SEBELUMNYA Nikki laments her loneliness in a fast paced and career driven world. Of course, much attention and airplay is currently focused on the sublime second single SELAMAT TINGGAL. Sounding like a geniusly inspired mashup between OneRepublic's 'Apologize' and Rihanna's 'Unfaithful', the evocative ballad features a restrained but emotive vocal delivery and a killer of a bridge which begs repeated listens.

Finally, Nikki also tackles the current trend of sampling old tunes but with a twist: instead of rehashing the tried and tested 60's and 70's or traditional Malay songs sampled by many of today's local R&B and hip hop acts, why not take to Western classical music for inspiration instead! Now, you would think that the great old maestros the likes of Mozart, Bach and Donizetti would be strange bedfellows with your everyday Malay pop. But the concept actually gels perfectly, from the deliciously tango-and-opera-tastic OH! MY,to the haunting overture BETARA SUKMA which meshes into the understated, beautiful book-end ballad CINTA.

In summary, HAWA is a highly enjoyable album right from the very first spin. Nikki has no worries of a sophomore slump here. Her Highness the Maharani of Pop's reign in the Malaysian music industry is definitely for the long haul!


  1. Cantik (Audi Mok/Amylea Azizan)****1/2
  2. Tak Perlu (Audi Mok / Faizal Tahir / Rafidah Abdullah)*****
  3. Selamat Tinggal (Pam Yuen / Imran)*****
  4. Hawa (Kieren Kuek / Mode)*****
  5. Baby Baby (Nur Fatima / Nikki)***1/2
  6. Oh! My (Audi Mok / Ad Samad)****1/2
  7. Belas-mu (Kieren Kuek / Mode)****
  8. Relakan (Audi Mok /Nur Fatima)***1/2
  9. Semalam dan Sebelumnya (Audi Mok / Ad Samad)****
  10. Pretty Like Me (Audi Mok / Nikki)***1/2
  11. Betara Sukma (Audi Mok / Ad Samad)****
  12. Cinta (Audi Mok / Azalea)****

Selamat Tinggal - Nikki

Monday, 19 January 2009

Hope has come to America (and perhaps the world)



On 20 January 2009, history will be written as  Barack Hussein Obama II becomes the first African-American to be elected as the President of the United States. The inauguration of the 44th commander in chief truly demonstrates the audacity  and triumph of hope and  is testament of the American dream:  the  freedom that allows all its citizens to pursue their goals in life through hard work and free choice. What's more, that all of this happened 46 years after Martin Luther King daringly imagined a "table of brotherhood of white and black' in his infamous I Have a Dream speech shows without a doubt that in America (for now at least), anything is indeed possible.

At has time when the America's reputation and credibility has been severely tarnished in many of the global issues we are confronted with today, from wars to global warming to financial excess and turmoil which has led to the current global recession, the world is looking and (indeed hoping) for the new president to address and remedy all of these.  True, these are all monumental challenges, too much to bear of even the most charismatic of leaders. But if the new president engages in inclusiveness and cooperation with is friends (and foes), in multilateralism instead of unilateralism, in a 'we' instead of 'us and them' , then the hope for a better tomorrow that we all dream of will surely become reality.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Anugerah Juara Lagu 23


The grand finale of this 'grand dame' of the local music industry is upon us this Sunday at Stadium Putra, Bukit Jalil. 14 compositions will vie wins in their respective categories but more importantly the coveted 'Juara Lagu'  title i.e. song of songs. Who will it be. DIESELFREAK is laying his cards down and reveals his picks:


  1. Doa Dalam Lagu (Zahid & Heliza) Ajai / Loloq
  2. Dusta Berkalang (Aiman) Hafiz Hamidun /Ahmad Fedtri Yahya
  3. Persoalan Cinta (Farawahida) Julfekar / Ku Seman / Izza Rosley


  1. Kalis Rindu (Elyana) Aidit Alfian / Ad Samad
  2. Lagu Untukmu (Meet Uncle Hussien) Taja  /Tass /Lan
  3. Yang Pernah (Estranged) Estranged
  4. Aku Stacy (Stacy) Intan Norul Azlin / Layla Ismail
  5. Bukan Disini (Sofaz) Zimi Sofaz / Ameer Sofaz


  1. Sampai Syurga (Faizal Tahir) Audi Mok / Faizal Tahir
  2. Bila Nak Saksi (Spider) Tam (Spider) / Loloq
  3. Dingin (Ziana Zain) Azlan Abu Hassan / Azalea
  4. Hanya Di Mercu (Ayu) Aubrey Suwito / Habsah Hassan
  5. Cuba (Faizal Tahir) Audi Mok / Faizal Tahir
  6. Lagu Kita (Aizat) Aizat

JUALA LAGU: Cuba (Faizal Tahir) Audi Mok / Faizal Tahir

Tuesday, 6 January 2009



After waiting for two months plus, my DIESEL XXX book finally arrived . Yay! but now without its trials and tribulations.

On 2nd Jan, I wrote to Amazon again about my predicament:

Dear Amazon,
I would like to alert you that I have still not recieved my order for the above item.

My account has indicated that the order has shipped on 21 Nov 2008 and that the delivery should be by 15 Dec 2008. On 16 Dec 2008, I have written to asking for the tracking information number and the customer representative replied that the tracking tracking information on the Deutsche Post web site appears incomplete. She advised me to be patient and wait until 31 Dec 2008 for the order to arrive, and also mentioned that will take full responsibility should any item become lost or damaged while being delivered, and that are more than happy to replace these items at a cost to yourselves.

As it is now 2 Jan 2009 and I still havent received my order plus the fact that the tracking information is not available, I have to reasonable conclude that my order is indeed lost. As such, I would like to take up upon the customer representative assurance that will take full responsibility and would appreciate greatly if would despatch a replacement for my order(using priority courier shipping)free of charge.

To be fair, I have always enjoyed quality service from throughout the years as a loyal customer and I sincerely believe that this is a one-off unfortunate incident. I hope that would respond favourably to my request for a replacement as promised and look forward to continue shopping with in the near future.

Thank you


Just a few hours later, they replied...

Hello from
I'm sorry--it appears that your shipment was lost in transit. I've placed a new order and well ship it to the same address as soon as possible.
Here are the order details:

Order Number: 102-0348662-5449859
Shipping speed: Priority International Courier
Estimated Delivery Date: January 7, 2009 - January 9, 2009

To ensure that your order is delivered quickly and isn't held up by customs clearance procedures, we create a replacement order with charges when an international order is lost, damaged, or incorrect. The charge for this order is $130.48. Were also refunding the same amount $130.48 to your original order. Both the charge and refund will be applied to the credit card used on the original order, and the refund should be processed within the next 2-3 business days.

Again, I apologize for this situation. I've added some more information below that might help you.

Thank you for shopping at


With that email, my replacement order was shipped, and with tracking information, I was able to track its movements across half the globe. It appears that my book travelled far, from Amazon HQ all the way up to Alaska, then Taiwan before arriving in Malaysia:


This the book safely in my hands, I would like to express grateful how impressed I am with Amazon for keeping their promise and upholding quality customer service :)  Malaysian companies have much to learn if we aspire to compete internationally...

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Diesel SS09 Advertising Campaign


If it ain't broke don’t fix it. Proving that lightning can strike at the same place twice, Diesel must have got something good going on when it chose to re team with innovative photographer John Scarisbrick for the second time round. Taking up where the AW08 campaign lead off, the SS09 campaign continues the black and white format to portray dark and surrealistic imagery.

Diesel SS09 5

By now, everyone must have seen the teaser ad, which literally made tongues a' wagging when Spanish top model Jon Kortajarena got gloriously sneaker-worshipped. The other ads are as equally arresting, like a cat filled apartment  (Yusri, this is what will happen if Naruto and Sakura dont use protection, hehe...), ring of flame and Alice in wonderland redux.

 Diesel SS09 3

 Diesel SS09 6

Diesel SS09 1

Diesel SS09 (6)

Diesel SS09 (7)

Diesel SS09 (3)

Diesel SS09 4

Diesel SS09 2

Diesel SS09 (13)

Diesel SS09 (11)

Diesel SS09 (2)

Diesel SS09 (9)

Like its predecessor, "There are no messages, themes or commentary to understand,” explained Diesel creative director Wilbert Das. “Our objective is to intrigue and provoke a thought.”

Example thought: Hmmm... I'm really digging those sneakers, if I get a pair, I wonder if they are stain resistant and laced with anti-bac?