The new chief executive of the Italian retail clothing company Diesel’s CEO, Massimo Piombini desires to rejuvenate the 90s success by raising prices and expanding in sneakers to turn around a Denim brand.

Interview Piombini stated his plan for Diesel to have flagship stores in a number of hub cities from New York and London to Berlin and Tel Aviv.

Massimo Piombini, who took over Diesel in late January, days before Covid-19 was declared a global emergency, said the retailer’s 436 stores worldwide — some directly owned, some concessions — are “way too much, regardless of coronavirus”. Far from derailing its plans, the pandemic is accelerating some elements of his plan.

Diesel is part of the OTB group, founded by the Italian fashion entrepreneur Renzo Rosso, once dubbed the “Jeans Genius” by fashion journalist Suzy Menkes. Other brands in the group include Marni, Viktor & Rolf, Maison Margiela.

Diesel remains by far the biggest brand, generating about 900 million euros ($1 billion) of the group’s 1.5 billion euros revenue last year. In the 1990s, it became one of the best known Italian-designed global lifestyle brands and helped push denim into a premium category for the first time.

In recent years it has become more of a mass-market brand and lost its upmarket position. It has also struggled to partake in the rapid growth of casual, athletic-wear, such as yoga pants.