Dolce & Gabbana; What’s Going On?

You tend to get what you expect from Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana; which is actually very impressive, when what you expect is something that is very close to perfection. The finale show of spring/summer 2015 in Milan was quintessential Dolce and Gabbana, full of the ornate explosions of embroidery, lace, gems and flowers that we always look forward to seeing from the house.

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This season, the legendary pair took inspiration from Spain, and specifically the Spanish occupation of Sicily throughout the 16th and 17th centuries. It was a concept which allowed them to infuse their typically Sicilian sartorial dreams with joyfully Hispanic hints; after all, as the designers rightly pointed out, “the Spanish occupied Sicily for 300 years! There are so many shared things in our cultures—the music, the food, the decorated horsecarts!”

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Indeed, there were so many powerful visually cultural ties to Spain midst the standard Dolce and Gabbana aesthetic, from the flamenco ruffles and polka dots, to the ponchos and the beautiful matador jackets made from satin or brocade, and decorated with cornelli embroidery.

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The colour palette also tapped into the idea of the matador; red is the colour traditionally associated with the bullring and the bullfighter, the colour of aggression, of drama – the colour of blood.

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The scarlet hues were offset by black and white elements; they seemed particularly beautiful when rendered in the lace dresses that Dolce and Gabbana do better than anyone else. Red carnations, which happen to be the favourite flower of Domenico Dolce’s mother, beautifully decorated black bodices, skirts and ponchos.

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Those carnations also made their appearance in the models’ hair, which was pulled back and sometimes decorated with scarves. On the other end of the leggy silhouettes, feet were encased in little T-bar slippers, or ankle boots, or pumps, all embellished with jewels and flowers. Thigh-high stockings, similarly patterned, added a sensual touch to many of the looks.

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Indeed, that aesthetic, reminiscent of vintage lingerie, was also present in the longline girdles and structured bras. Somehow, however, Dolce and Gabbana had managed to make these fiercely modern, whilst retaining that classic air, tapping into this season’s sheer trend like only they could.

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Indeed, one of the most impressive aspects of this collection is its apparent ability to transcend the gap between “classic” and “modern,” and to appeal to those of different generations. “We have the mother and the daughter to think about!” said Gabbana. “They shop together now!”

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Indeed, there is surely something for all ages within these beautiful offerings; the black brocade pant suits would look great on an older woman looking for something sophisticated for the office, whilst the little shorts and mini dresses seem like a dream choice for a younger girl on an evening out (I would love to wear one of those bejeweled dresses on a night out, but I would end up killing anyone who dared touch it/spill a drink on it/commit any act of sacrilege against the dress).

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Indeed, there was something which evoked the traditional Catholic widow in the black lace and veils of some of these designs; the embroidered and embellished Sacred Hearts which shone from dresses, blouses and cummerbunds also provided a link to the Church of Spain and Italy.

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Of course, these slightly more sombre (yet still mysteriously beautiful) designs stood in stark contrast to the more revealing pieces, with their sheer skirts, short hemlines and brighter, racier colour palettes.

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The silhouettes were kept largely simple and clean throughout, placing the entire focus on the irresistible lace details, the delicate embroidery and the jewels which could only have been placed so perfectly by the hand of a true artist.

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We have seen denim popping up in all sorts of places in Milan this season, and here the jean was done resolutely in typical Dolce and Gabbana style, sparkling with jewels and paired with lingerie-like black lace vests, or those matador-style jackets.

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There are some who might say that Dolce and Gabbana’s last few collections have been a little samey; that they have rocked out the same tropes too many times in a row. Maybe there is some truth in this; but then again, how can you expect the pair to improve on perfection? This collection is an utter triumph.

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