Dolce & Gabbana brings out the big guns
Amid the hubbub, the lights went down. A black and white film started up on a large screen, taking the audience into the workshop of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who are working among their team, one lent over a design with a pencil, a tailor's tape hanging around his neck, the other deftly wielding scissors and a needle. Savoir-faire, tradition, precision and passion: these were the values transmitted by the manifesto-film projected at the start of the show.
In a similar manner to its menswear show in January, Dolce & Gabbana was aiming to celebrate elegance in all its splendour and called upon the services of a master of ceremonies to present its women's ready-to-wear collection for Fall/Winter 2019-20, just as fashion houses did in the past, announcing each piece as it came down the runway.
Standing behind his lectern to the right of the catwalk, which was decorated with red velvet curtains and an immense chandelier, this ringmaster explained to the audience that the collection was "dedicated to feminine elegance, which can be found in the numerous masterpieces of Italian painting, from the portraits of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Botticelli to the famous Madonnas of Antonello da Messina." A long and illustrious tradition, then, leading up to this collection, which channelled all of the savoir-faire and craftsmanship of Italian fashion.
The collection, made up of 130 looks, opened with the melancholic notes of Federico Fellini's La Strada as the design duo sent out a series of men's suits. Sporting felt Borsalinos and bow ties, the women took to the runway in high-waisted trousers and impeccably tailored double-breasted jackets, enveloped in black or white woollen maxi coats. Their tuxedos and three-piece suits were, of course, made to measure, while redingotes and vast capes coupled with top hats completed the tableau.
Following these masculine beginnings, there was a radical change of pace as the house plunged its audience into the heady atmosphere of an ultra chic boudoir with cosy, silky outfits in pastel tones. Nightgowns and nightshirts in colourful satin were interspersed with lace, airy silk muslin pyjamas bordered with mink, and wraparound coats, not to mention the nighties and bustier dresses in transparent fabric, which were paired with cloaks fastened around the models' necks with long ribbons.
Cheetah and leopard print then made an appearance in chiffon dresses, woollen trousers or pieces of fabric incorporated into black dresses. The animal print theme was also present in brocade or moiré suits, shimmering fringed dresses and long black capes decorated with golden motifs. Flowers, a favourite theme of the designers', were also worked into the collection in large multicoloured bouquets splashed across flared dresses or tight ankle-length numbers.
Traditional menswear fabrics like tweed, Prince of Wales check, salt and pepper wool, chevrons and houndstooth were back in force in the series of retro suits that followed. All of these were black and white and some featured polka dots, a house classic. Black and white then gave way to a burst of colour with the arrival of a run of highly pigmented monochrome ensembles in petrol blue, fuchsia, mustard, poppy red, ruby and golden yellow.
The collection also included wedding dresses – five gowns featuring kilometres of tulle – and evening looks alternating sparkling dresses covered in rhinestones, paillettes and sequins, or golden gowns decorated with pearls and precious stones, with masculine brocard suits.
The runway show ended with Dolce & Gabbana's iconic "Nero Sicilia" style, particularly notable in a little black dress, the house's signature piece. With no superfluous decorations, the simple dress caressed the model's curves, embodying that quintessential, slightly retro Italian elegance that was also channelled by a series of sublime black 1950s-style suits.
Standout accessories included Lilliputian bags that couldn't have been larger than a stamp or a medal, which the models swung like incense burners from the end of golden chains as they descended the catwalk in their black lace dresses.
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