#SuzyMFW: Dolce & Gabbana: A Penitent Elegance
The set was a swoosh of sumptuous red-velvet curtains as once seen in grand hotels. On the wall beside it were the illuminated words ‘Dolce & Gabbana’ and ‘Eleganza’.
That was a cue not just to a film of the fashion duo working by hand, as if creating haute couture. There was also a middle-aged man, with a plummy English voice from the post-war past, introducing each group of clothes.
This 1951 figure with his suggestions of women’s fashion needs was hilarious, rather than insulting.
“I found it on YouTube and we started to build this mansion,” explained Stefano Gabbana backstage, referring to the set.
But there was more about this display of timeless, elegant, but not historic, outfits than met the eye, which was drawn towards separate sections. They included feminised male tailoring (top hat included), showing Domenico’s skills. There were pretty dresses with full skirts, leopard-spot patterns, and sweet florals. Five brides were even sent down the runway to underscore D&G’s bridal wear.
The show ended with the power, glamour and elegance of black.
Front row, and later backstage, was Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala, who said that he had been supporting Dolce & Gabbana after their botched attempt to show in China, when the designers’ jokey attitude was badly received and their event was shut down.
This quietly staged show was in complete contrast to the raucous presentation last season, when mothers and daughters, former models, friends and families all whooped their way down the runway.
But Stefano rejected any idea that this show, which took us back to the ethos on which the company was built, had been created as an admission that things on their stage had gone too far. He said there was no connection to the ongoing problem with China.
“No! The idea is that we want to explain to the new generation that everything comes by hand – sartorial, handmade, and elegant. Because the world is full of sneakers and jogging jumpers, we wanted to turn the page to elegance.
“We continue our story,” the designer insisted. “We know it was a big mistake, but when we sketched this collection, we were completely free.”
The show was well executed, but with no surprises, except perhaps in small details, such as chains decorating a shirt under a suit, and men’s fob watches. There was a sense of decency in check suits; of charm in shoes inset with jewels above the toes; and a little of D&G wit in the animal prints.
But a new fashion dawn? No. Under the circumstances, the two penitents wisely played it safe.