It’s proof of the potency of the Dolce & Gabbana brand that the audience – normally inscrutable in shades and certainly never smiling – couldn’t help but grim from ear to ear for the finale of the Italian duo’s menswear show in Milan yesterday, to showcase their spring/summer 2019 collection.
It was hard not to really: the show reached a climax with the mischievous pair charging onto the catwalk flanked by Monica Bellucci, Naomi Campbell and Merpessa Hennink (a trio long associated with the house) to whooping and a merry riot of colour, print, crystals, embroidery, religious iconography, grandfathers, tots, teens, same-sex couples and every kind of Italianate exuberance in between. Minimalism? Leave that to the millennials.
At a time when the men’s fashion world is in a period of upheaval and confusion – there’s been a decline in traditional tailoring, the menswear show schedules have been decimated as designers streamline their women’s and men’s shows into one – Dolce & Gabbana took it back to their Sicilian heartland and the language they speak so lyrically: of Italian home and family, the tropes of their country’s style and architecture and the kind of grandeur normally reserved for the most imposing of palazzos.
Campbell and Bellucci were in pristine pinstriped suits, as were the male models – a testament to the designers’ traditions in the world of southern Italian tailoring – but the collection veered from sharp suiting to boldly emblazoned sportswear and opulent evening wear.
This being Dolce and Gabbana, there was also a heavy dose of tongue-in-cheek humour. Cartoon prints and depictions of hearty Italian fare were splashed across shirts and trousers, as well as a serious showcase of the skill in the brand’s atelier; those fringed rose-print jackets, silk chinoise robes and smoking jackets are all meticulously handcrafted.
The fashion world has a tendency to tie itself in knots with overtheorising and hand-wringing angst, which makes a romp through Dolce & Gabbana’s jewel-dusted, rainbow-hued universe a cheering contrast.
The pair unashamedly celebrate what they love (note the ‘amore’ lettering), and everyone – old or young, gay or straight, millennial social media star or seasoned supermodel – is invited to the party.