Sunday, January 12, 2014

BEAUTY: Clothing--Dolce and Gabbana

With London Collections: Men and Pitti Uomo behind us, we embark upon the second half of the winter shows with Milano Moda Uomo (and Paris Fashion Week after that). And first up is a fantastic collection (as usual) from the prolific duo of Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce.

For many seasons now, Dolce and Gabbana have been mining images and iconography of antiquity from their native Italy, especially Sicily (see 19th century Roman-Greco etchings here, see 18th and 19th century Roman Catholic religious iconography here, see late 19th century Sicilian village life here, and see a fantastic Italian opera-inspired collection here). And the inspiration for their Fall-Winter collection for '14-'15 goes all the way back to the Norman Kings and knights who invaded Italy.

D&G provide helpful history:
"Normans (from Northmen or Norsemen) were a Scandinavian group of people, settled in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The history of Norman's Sicily began with their conquering of the island which took place in 1061 through a landing in Messina. The Dolce & Gabbana Men's Winter 2015 collection takes inspiration from the Norman Kings Ruggero I, Ruggero II, William I, William II, Tancredi, Henry VI, Federico II and Manfredi as well as from the architecture of Norman Sicily as seen in Palermo in the Norman Building, the Cathedral and the Church of the Martorana."

Well, okay then.

What always strikes me about a D&G collection and show is the sheer volume of looks and combinations (this one clocks in at 75 looks, as compared to 20s or 30s of most other designers)... and of course the way they work with their inspiration to transform and tailor it to the Dolce and Gabbana aesthetic. Right from the start of the show, actual models (gone are the boys and young men discovered in rural villages in Sicily) wearing crowns, and fantastic bejeweled and gold braided gauntlets and shoes (those shoes! WOW!) strode out to the pumped up strains of military-sounding Medieval tunes. Images of the aforementioned Kings are printed on sweatshirts, and stunningly beautiful suits are printed with images of the Gothic details of Norman churches. A few tunics make an appearance, along with harlequin striped suits, but the most striking period details come in the cowls, hoods, and aventails that would have been worn under battle armour. The collection has a marvelous heft, weight, gravitas...sumptuous yet masculine. And speaking of masculine, Tony Ward, looking a little older and heavier (as do we all), closed the show in a brown-black velvet tuxedo. Lookin' good, Mr. Ward...

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