Monday, January 19, 2015

BEAUTY: Clothing--Dolce and Gabbana

Every Dolce and Gabbana collection is a love letter to the precious country that created them. They have explored its varied regions and history in collection after collection (just click on the tag "DOLCE AND GABBANA" for this post to see the dazzling array they have created over the years). And it seems only right that their focus would wind tighter and tighter on not only country, not only region, not only history, but the bedrock of every Italian: family.

But the idea of family now is different than what it once was. Tim Blanks of rightly notes that, for their FW '15-'16 collection at Milano Moda Uomo, D&G did not include any contemporary families in their show or on their clothing--no families of mixed race, no gay or lesbian families. And at first I agreed and felt that, as gay men, Domenico Dolce and Steffano Gabbana should have known better. But upon closer inspection, the collection is not about that. It is about something else...or rather I should say a different dimension of family.

Now, I come a from a large Italian family myself (my great grandmother came from a little village in central Italy, boarded a ship called the S.S. Europa and landed on Ellis Island in 1909), and I feel what this is. I can trace my ancestors back to the 1600s in that same little village. That is not "family" in terms of my mom and dad. That is a much wider sense of "family."

“We were inspired by family portraits of the 18th and 19th century, right up to the modern Dolce & Gabbana family you see today printed on the T-shirts”, said Gabbana. “We also looked to images of the first family in the nativity; we’re Catholic after all”.

Set against a tableau vivant of seven actual families, models (a collection of de rigeur young men but also a few mature patriarchs) walked the runway wearing the aforementioned portrait pieces, but also Old World-tailored suits of black velvet feeling like heirlooms handed down in a family. The idea of ancestors and ancestry was key in a crown and wasp motif that felt like heraldry or the symbol of an ancient house. And the beautiful hand embroidered words "Amore Per Sempre" (Love Forever) punctuated the set.

Yes, families may now have two moms or two dads, or a mother and father and children of all different races, but our parents and grandparents and great grandparents... well, we all come from somewhere, someplace, some little village or town or hamlet or city where our ancestors lived, and they all came from somewhere too. The collection is billed as being about famiglia, but Dolce and Gabbana managed to make it about history anyhow. History, ancestry, lineage, migration... time.

Watch how the scrim swings back to reveal a wonderful collection of generations. And the suits really are gorgeous...

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