Dolce & Gabbanaʼs ode to craftsmanship – and the one percent
Few houses in the febrile and artificial world of fashion make as much effort to connect to their roots as Dolce & Gabbana, whose latest collection was a charming and delicate ode to Italian craftsmanship and earthy Sicilian roots.
Two models even marched down the runway gently cradling spring lambs in their arms – even if this was a Fall/Winter collection for 2020 – both the little creatures looking thoroughly nonplussed. It may be the dawn of a new decade, but Dolce & Gabbana are far more interested by the sunset of their country’s centuries-old skills.
Entitled "I Mestieri dʼArte," or the "Skills of the Trade," the show and clothes were an extended homage to all those ancient artisanal skills, many of which are slowly but surely dying out.
The designers even installed a gang of working artisans at the entrance to their show: four ladies furiously knitting in front of an elderly watchmaker and an even more venerable goldsmith.
While the show backdrop was a brilliant collage of black and white videos featuring wizened rural artisans, basket weavers, blacksmiths, shepherds, tinsmiths, potters and masons, to name but a few.
Remarkably, Stefano and Domenico for once did not use their signature opening music, the theme to Viscontiʼs The Leopard. Instead, the soundtrack was a half-dozen tunes by Franco Battiato, a marvelous Sicilian singer-songwriter whose songs explore philosophical and exotic ideas. All adding to the sense of event about this memorable show.
A series of molto chunky cable compositions that looked like the ladies at the front door might have just knitted them opened the show – big sweaters, jumpsuits, massive cardigans or Yeti-proportioned coats.
Before segueing into some taut rural pinstripe tailoring, the cast all in flat woolen caps, culling from those scenes in The Godfather when Al Pacino flees to Sicily and meets Apollonia.
Even the ancient skill of enameling was trumpeted in some great silk party shirts featuring teapot designs.
Almost every look was anchored with hefty military or farmer boots featuring tire-track soles – the key footwear for next winter.
However, though certainly enjoying their earthy DNA, Dolce & Gabbana are an increasingly high-end label. Case in point, the brand has just added a fourth floor to their menswear flagship on Corso Venezia in central Milan. Besides the luxury ready-to-wear, there is also a rich new selection of super high-end watches, the latest picks inspired by the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci.
Very much targeted at the one percent of the one percent, the top of the line emerald encrusted Don Carlo, a unique wristwatch with its own patented D&G tourbillon movement has a price tag of – gulp – 675,000 euros.
A long way from the simple life of the artisan, one would agree, but nonetheless very, very Dolce & Gabbana.
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