They may no longer be a couple away from the catwalk, but Italian style duo Dolce and Gabbana underlined that their creative partnership burns as brightly as ever on Sunday.
A collection inspired by Spain’s historical links to Sicily was a welcome ‘and-now-for-something-completely-different’ moment at the end of a Milan fashion week that has been given a slightly jaded feel by the serial revisiting of 1970s themes by all but a handful of the top houses.
Not that Domenico Dolce, 56, and Stefano Gabbana, 51, avoided the decade altogether: among the most wearable items of a blockbuster 80-model show were mini-dresses featuring flared cuffs in long and short-sleeved versions.
The dominant theme, however, might have come straight from Bizet’s Carmen: an opera so full of exposed underwear and heaving bosoms that it is remarkable it took D&G, long-established specialists in such matters, so long to get around to working it into their act.
Sacred Hearts were to be founded embroidered, or printed, on to most of the pieces. Carnations, often to be found between the teeth of bullfighters, also abounded, although this was apparently as much a nod to the flower being a favourite of Sicilian-born Dolce’s mother as it was to Spain.
The new D&G woman is “strong, seductive and passionate” the press notes said, declaring the new collection to be a return to the sensuality of the company’s earliest collections.
Fashion-conscious women all over the world will also be relieved to know that: “It is OK for the woman of today to be sexy because she is conscious of who she is and she is not afraid to wear a mini-skirt and embroidered denim pants worn with a masculine shirt.”
The finale of what was the last big-name show of this fashion week involved 65 identically dressed models strutting their stuff in embroidered, high-waisted and crimson shorts that were topped with white men’s shirts slashed opened to the waist to expose black bra tops underneath.
– Love letter –
The show came at the end of a week in which Gabbana went public with his recollections of the love affair that developed in parallel with the pair’s emergence in the 1980s as one of the most influential forces in fashion.
In a missive due to be read publicly at next month’s festival of letters in Milan, Gabbana recalls how they first met and declares his enduring love for his business partner, despite their relationship having ended years ago.
Gabbana told Italy’s Corriere della Sera: “Domenico is shy, when I tell him he is my family, he pulls back, but we still live close to one other, in the same building, one on one floor and the other on the floor above, whenever we go on separate holidays we always call each other, we were intelligently able to remain good friends and great partners.”
In the letter, Gabbana reveals how the two men still have the habit of finishing each other’s sentences.
He adds: “We created Dolce & Gabbana together from scratch and with the strength of our love we have achieved everything we have.
“Supporting each other, we managed to overcome many difficulties and prejudice. Even today, thanks to that feeling that binds us inextricably to each other, we will continue to face the happiness and the sorrows that life has in store for us.
“You are my family. Many years have passed since I first heard your voice on the other end of the phone, everything has changed and yet nothing has changed.
“The love that I felt then, has only been transformed, and it continues to give me so many beautiful feelings. You are and you will always be unique in my life….
“I love you.”