#SuzyCouture: Inspiration From Ancient Greece In Sicily

The noble temple, reflecting the tangerine yellow of the setting sun, stood like a rock of ages – taking Sicily back thousands of years to the artistic culture of ancient Greece.

The Valley of the Temples in Agrigento belonged – for one night only – to Dolce & Gabbana, whose Alta Moda collection was shown on this historic site.

“It took two years – two years!” said Domenico Dolce at the dinner afterwards, under the trees with the curves of the hills still faint shadows on this light summer night. The designer was describing the time it took for him and Stefano Gabbana to convince the city’s mayor to give permission for this UNESCO World Heritage site to be turned into a fashion runway.

The hilltop and its hosts of ruins, creating the stillness of religious calm, seemed to have inspired the designers to shift away from the gaudy, jokey attitude that last year had so offended the Chinese and led Dolce & Gabbana to cancel a show.

In Sicily, the feeling was of calm, beauty and a reverential deference to the sacred Temple of Concord, where the models walked, slow and dignified, in front of the couture clients who use these annual events as a magical getaway.

The new D & G classicism was shown in the look of female divinities in slender draped dresses, white, but glinting with gold embroidery and burnished filigree headpieces. The latter might be Egyptian or Roman circlets – or maybe pieces of ruined sculptures balanced on the head. They were matched by classic Greek and Roman figures used as decoration on relatively simple dresses.

As the sun set deeper to orange, so did the clothes – darker backgrounds for patterns of vases laid on glittering cloth. The designs were mostly ankle or calf length, but with the occasional short chiffon dress fluttering only to the knees.

This being D & G, for whom too much is never enough, there were other fashion elements, such as ball gown dresses: super light and intensely pretty with flowers painted on fabric – less female divinity, more innocent young woman.

The number of outfits on display for women, men and jewellery lovers puts Dolce & Gabbana in a unique position – not just in their reach, but also in their clientele which is truly international. The entire concept of housing the invitees and offering them three separate presentations in exceptional venues is unique to the Italian duo.

This kind of vacation weekend, including crossing the sandy beach (more gold!) down to the azure sea and a peak at the designers’ giant boat is something of a fairy tale. Add the dresses on display to try or buy (don’t all fight at once!) and the men’s impeccable tailoring from Domenico. And then there is the storytelling of Walter Veneruz, head of watches and jewellery.

With an exceptional sense of colour, a deep knowledge of stones and the Italian spirit of figurative jewellery, the D & G experience was expanded beyond clothing. It spanned gold coins engraved with heads of ancient Athenians though a necklace of fruit and flowers to an amethyst necklace in regal deep purple.

Not to be missed: a crossbow made of gold that had been carried so boldly down the runway. I think the reply I heard whispered to a potential client’s query about the price was 13,000 euros. By that stage of the event, it seemed a trifling amount.