MILAN, Italy — Dolce & Gabbana took the fashion crowd on a jolly jaunt into a luxury fairytale with their latest collection. From an enchanted forest sprung knights with their tunic length armour, gloves and snoods covered in shimmering crystals, damsels in distress wore flowing draped gowns held tight to the torso with wide corsets or covered in woodland creature prints, wicked witches still wore all black (but this time in lace) and Red Riding Hood never looked so good than she did with her cape covered in fox fur.
Called “Once upon a time… in Sicily” designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s show unapologetically returned to the land that has inspired them for years. But viewed as if it existed inside a medieval fable. However, the connection to Sicily was a bit of a stretch this season. Maybe the gnarled bare branched trees sitting at the centre of the show’s set was an olive tree? But no matter, the clothing was all the better for this distancing.
Instead of highlighting Sicilian heritage, the designers reinterpreted sartorial touchstones of fairytales and medieval dress in luxurious, if quirky ways. Keeping the silhouettes rather paired down, the duo focused on playful embellishments.
a-line coats and dresses came covered in fabric and fur appliqué adornments that depicted everything from whorls of roses along the shoulders and swans sitting pretty on a top, to wide-eyed owls staring out from their perch on a baby blue shift dress, and quizzical red foxes sitting up straight on a sweater. Relatively simpler alternatives adorned with black lace, patterned flocking or cut from shimmering jacquards, moved the collection closer to reality. And just to make sure everyone in the room knew that they still had a firm grasp of the fundamentals, the designers randomly dispersed a perfectly executed simple black dress, or an expertly tailored fitted suit jacket, into the lineup.
When the models weren’t working the highly embellished designs - it takes skills to make a bejeweled snood look sexy - they showed up in sparkling flats wearing short trapeze dresses, or flowing gowns in the collection’s leitmotif skeleton key print, carrying bejewelled treasure-chest bags.
The moral of this story is that the duo’s talent at embellishment and precision tailoring is no fairytale. This whimsical collection showed those abilities off with a very fashionable flair.