Dolce & Gabbana stage a Haute Couture show of operatic proportions and worthy of several standing ovations in Milan.
Now in its fifth year, designers Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce’s Alta Moda series – a series of shows hosted in Dolce & Gabbana’s native homeland of Italy – has successfully built up band identity, number of clientele and sales.
Its fifth iteration, breaking away from Couture Week goings-on in Paris, was set in Milan; namely a warehouse that hosts the rehearsals and houses the costumes and sets for the Teatro alla Scala (also known as La Scala) Opera House. “This place is very magical,” Domenico Dolce explained after the show. “We were fascinated when we came here a year ago. We both go to the opera–we’re Italian, drama is in our blood!”
Guests were led through the workrooms where props and costumes were made, and into something described by Vogue UK editor in chief Alexandra Shulman as “the heart of Dolceland” complete with scenes from a baroque still life painting: tables groaning with thousands of candles, roses and glasses, marble statues of Greek goddesses and a live pianist.
The high drama setting lent itself to the high drama clothes (with up to 100 outfits shown). Dripping with gold brocade, jewels, pearls, sable, velvet and satin, the outfits evoked the ornate costumes from iconic operas such as Madame Butterfly, The Magic Flute, La Traviata, La Bohéme, Falstaff and Lucia di Lammermoor; details included puffed, slashed sleeves, exaggerated and lace edged collars and sleeves, Elizabethan ruffs, dramatically detailed kimono-like jackets and a Geisha-like head piece. The result: A collection that celebrated the heritage of opera in Italy, Italian culture, exquisite craftsmanship, and unabashed femininity. Guests present were also dazzled by the spectacle – more an opera, theatre-show and living art piece combination than fashion show – and the designers Stefano Gabbana and Domenico Dolce returned to the stage for three standing ovations.
Despite their theatrical and operatic inspirations Dolce & Gabbana worked hard to prevent looking like a dressing-up game and to update the collection, pairing elaborate pieces with contrasting modern garments: a heavily decorated and fur lined jumper over a barely-there slip dress and fishnet tights; a sequined, animal print kimono over a sharply tailored suit; an oversized sports sweater layered on top of a embellished skirt. “We wanted to look at the daughters of the customers,” Gabbana explained when discussing the collection. “Who is the next couture client?” As such, it is very likely that we will be seeing the best of D&G’s operatic couture paired with Vetements-inspired frayed jeans and beloved trainers on our favourite street style stars very soon. But, since Dolce & Gabbana have revealed that only , they will have to move fast and fight off D&G’s many other fans.
Words by Esther Newman