Dolce & Gabbana’s evolving DNA

We are not too sure who exactly is the sacred and who is the profane in the design duo Dolce & Gabbana, but these contradictory impulses sure made for a heck of show in Milan on Sunday.


Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2019 - Milan - Photo: PixelFormula

A show, in a season marked by an enormous diversity of race, color and ethnicity in terms of casting, that had the most eclectic choice of models seen on any catwalk in eons.
 
The gentlemen began the action with the sacred. As church bells rang, several scores of Sicilian widows all in black, their heads covered with lace veils, each holding a sacred candle in their hands, marched up and down the catwalk.
 
Then Dolce & Gabbana unloaded the big guns: Monica Bellucci in a figure-hugging polka-dot dress; Carla Bruni Sarkozy, the former French First Lady, clearly loving her runway return in a gold paisley pant suits with sky-blue jacquard waistcoat; Eva Herzigová, as a contessa in acres of jet-black tulle, like an extra in The Leopard.
 
The theme music to Visconti’s classic film, as always, announced the opening of the show. After that it was pure Luciano Pavarotti, his voice hitting impossibly high notes, ideal for this operatic show.
 
The show invitation read "DNA" in gold over a fingerprint, making clear the message: all the duo’s multi-root DNA in one long, rambling show. While a slickly produced program, reading "DNA Evolution" telegraphed the overriding idea – this collection would riff on all Domenico and Stefano’s greatest hits: Helena Christensen as a sexy widow in a multi-laced little black slim negligee, her hair covered in roses, gold loop earrings jangling from her ears. Norman heraldic sweatshirts; Maiolica-pattern cocktails; wacky ceramic-print palazzo pants; working gals in gold religious vestment hot pants with matching platforms and skimpy fabric flower corsets.
 
A lady couple – one in an evening dress, the other in a tuxedo pant suit, both made of the same graphic black-n-white graffiti print – marched hand in hand. As did several mothers and daughters, and even a granny and granddaughter. Plus, several XXL lady models, all of whom earned bursts of applause.
 
A great display of fantasy and Italian craftsmanship. However, one could not help feeling this was all a tad too familiar. Too many greatest hits rather than a hot new album of ideas. One could only admire their whole magnificent oeuvre; however one left the show space yearning for a show with a powerful central theme, which advanced the fashion vernacular.

In fact, the DNA hadn’t really evolved that much, despite the collection’s title.

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