(images via style)
yes, really. it’s time, once again. honestly, i’ve been holding off on our coverage of the dolce & gabbana f/w 2013 presentation at milan fashion week largely because, yannow, it’s just such an event. like giorgio armani, much as i liked the clothes themselves, i was kind of waiting for the staging to come to its conclusion (if there was one; i’m not sure that the clothes aren’t still circulating on a catwalk that has yet to be rolled up right now) with irritably tapping fingers, wondering if they needed, like so many of the–albeit beautiful–loooks.
but really, now that i’m here and its done, i’m sure i’m going to enjoy seeing these artful clothes rolling out in editorials in the months to come, as we basically always do with whatever they thrust upon us (see f/w 2010, s/s 2011, f/w 2011, s/s 2012, f/w 2012, s/s 2013). anyway, the designers have been on something of an art kick these past couple of seasons (i think they first broached the subject with their amazing s/s 2008 collection and its tribute to painting), and it held for the upcoming fall in what i’d argue was one of their best collections of late.
and so, as you can imagine, there’s plenty to be said on the work at hand, and i think in that case, i’ll just let the critics take things away! “Mosaic and religious prints were bountiful along with the designers’ signature heavy embellishments, lace, chunky jewelry, corset tops and exposed undergarments,” explained the fashion spot. “It wasn’t all over-the-top religious garb and gold embroidery, however. The duo presented a slew of ladylike looks including tweed and houndstooth skirt suits, cinched-at-the-waist 3/4-sleeve dresses and loosely tailored coats before closing their collection with a knockout series of embroidered red lace dresses.”
and according to uk vogue, “they brought the mosaics and frescoes of their motherland to life through glittering and glistening bejewelled dresses, be they fitted in that elegant Fifties Dolce way or short little shifts with gracious fluted sleeves. They incarnated icons and saints – the models themselves being turned into them with little princess and queen crowns atop their heads – on easy, loose tunics that were rich in pigment colours: red, green, blue, golden yellow – and which came worn with rosary beads.”
“It went demure for houndstooth skirt suits that came shapely and two-tiered and there were swingy daytime coats that said prim and pristine,” they trailed on. “In fact, aside from a Madonna-esque golden filigree bustier (dedicated to Saint Agatha) and a series of black lace dresses with corset-wide belts and A-line full skirts, this was very much a collection that was loose in shape – a better canvas to show off those fashion frescoes and splash just a bit more sparkle.”
then, we heard from fashionologie that “(t)his season, the duo’s penchant for flair came in the form of Byzantine mosaic prints, religious fresco patterns, and dazzling jewel adornments — not to mention the army of models in crimson lace that closed the show. If all that sounds a bit too expected, don’t worry. There was real freshness in these silhouettes. They were boxier and more sparse than we’ve seen from the designers of late and — in spite of their elaborate embellishments and prints — felt right in line with fashion’s recent pared-down mood.”
meanwhile, we heard from showstudio, reporting that “Tailored Mosaic’ was the title of the collection, and aptly the opening dresses were so ornate they could have been lifted straight off the eye-popping ceiling at Venice’s St Mark’s Basilica. From the sweeping red velvet curtains that veiled the stage to the painted holy wine lips on each model, the theatre and performance of religious practice underpinned the collection. One girl even sported a sculptured gold bodice that resembled the kind of ornate chalice from which one takes communion at the altar. ”
“The religious theme was at its most literal in the black and white lace looks,” they continued, “some of which seemed to be Dolce and Gabbana’s own version of naughty nuns – see the strict white shirt paired with high-waisted black lace hot-pants and comedy-sized rosaries. Even the tailoring had a pious theme. Those thick tweeds and conservative, modest shapes resembled women of the cloth on their day off. But of all the looks to emerge it was the final hurrah that was the most breath-taking. All of the show’s glamorous beauties arrive en masse in sparkling, embellished red lace gowns. It was so divine a vision that even us committed atheists couldn’t help but look to the heavens.”
and style announced that “(t)heirs is a romanticized view of the Catholic Church, to be sure, one far removed from the tawdriness of contemporary scandals. And in terms of fashion, that vision proved compelling here, blessedly less kitsch than last season’s. Credit for that goes in part to the rather more earthly herringbones and checks they used for skirtsuits and coats and one errant pair of bloomers. The menswear materials made for a brief interlude, though. Soon the designers were back at the icon worship, cutting lace dresses with the wide sleeves of altar boys’ garments, crafting a bustier from altar-chalice gold, and, in a task that might prove as labor-intensive as those twelfth-century mosaics, hand-beading the evening numbers with religious figures.”
then, in a slightly different vein, but raising a relevant point nevertheless, the nyt‘s cathy horyn weighed in that “Dolce & Gabbana showed 75 looks, nearly twice as many as other designers. Half the collection was in the rich red and gold patterns of Catholic icons. The other chunk was in bourgeois-looking tweeds. But the problem was not that the opposing selves refused to meet, or that the church pieces looked like costumes — some were dazzling. Rather, it was the sense of waste. How many of these garments will be produced? And if only a selection of the runway pieces winds up in stores, what are the many reviewers at the show or online really reviewing?”
“the designers took us on a journey that went northward to Rome to the era of Fellini and Cinecittà. Not just in the look of the bella figura double-peplum jackets and hourglass dresses, cut from a salt-and-pepper herringbone tweed,” noted us vogue. “From there, it seems we journeyed far westward to the New World, to Hollywood, alighting at the set of Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest and Marnie, with tweedy check clutch coats and abbreviated A-line dresses. Then, like Dorothy clicking her sparkling ruby slippers and chanting, ‘There’s no place like home,’ we were back in Sicily, with a gorgeous closing finale of a multitude of evening dresses worked in red lace, though not one that was long, many encrusted with gemstones.”
“What came through the strongest in these was the sense of how to elevate day clothes, which have been missing in action—and much missed, too—in these past few weeks of shows,” they concluded. “Still, things weren’t too practical and workaday. Accessories lent an element of fantasy, with crown headpieces that were part saint, part principessa, huge cross earrings, and delightfully playful shoes, that variously incorporated rich papal purple or cardinal red velvet, baroque carved platforms, and golden cage heels entwined with little floral buds. All in all, an upbeat and uplifting way to approach the end of the Milan season.”
elsewhere, fab sugar detailed how “(w)ith models decked out in golden crowns, oversize chandelier earrings, and rosary beads, designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana churned out a collection filled with ornate details. Such was the case with the intricate Monreale Cathedral church mosaics they featured — the duo enlisted the help of local artisans and experts to re-create the complex artwork — on a wide array of shimmery dresses and filigree sculpted shoes and embroidered bags. The decadence continued with beaded shift dresses featuring flared flute sleeves and a look that highlighted a gold stone-embellished bustier dedicated to Saint Agatha.”
“Could Ratzinger have inspired Dolce & Gabbana’s latest collection?” queried the daily beast. “From the looks of what came down the runway on Sunday afternoon in Milan — the departing papa may have been the guiding light behind the collection. The show featured a sea of gold-encrusted dresses covered in imagery that appeared to be borrowed directly from the 6th-century Byzantine mosaics of the San Vitale basilica in Ravenna. But perhaps most dramatic was the finale, in which a troupe of models stormed the runway in gilded lace dresses in Vatican red.”
meanwhile, the telegraph in their subtle way, reported that “(o)nce the show began and the models progressed down the catwalk in their three-piece suits (flared jackets, some padded over the hips, or coats, worn over tunic tops and midi skirts) the cleverness of Dolce & Gabbana’s tailoring became even more apparent. Tweed isn’t always the most fluid fabric but these Prince of Wales check and Donegal flecks looked supple, feminine and refined, whilst toeing the strong, architectural line that has been a key feature on New York’s and London’s catwalks as well as here in Milan.”
“Whether women will wear these beautifully structured clothes, rather than merely admiring them, is a moot point,” they accurately noted. “But like Prada, Dolce & Gabbana will produce a commercial line of lighter tweeds come next winter, including cashmere knits printed to look like tweed. Meanwhile, backstage again, Gabbana explained that ‘you don’t have to be strict, or formal or over-elaborate, to be elegant nowadays.’ As if by divine intervention, a flesh coloured g-string, dangling from a rail, interrupted both our eye-lines. Brit style: the contemporary version.”
then, we heard from fashion week daily that “Dolce & Gabbana’s latest shined via a series of golden frocks, from an A-line number, gem-festooned and sporting a short hem, or a mosaic-printed pencil skirt with a sheer black lacy bra-revealing top. Cardinal reds were richly regal in full-on beading or lace. Nun references came in white wide-sleeved tops paired with black lace below-the-knee skirts. Grey tweed and checked patterns toned it down a tad, via church-apropos skirtsuits, but Stefano and Domenico’s girl is anything but demure. To wit: Many of these holy-hewed fabrics were also paired with bloomers and transparent lace, thus erring on the side of more revealing.”
and grazia relayed that “(p)re-renaissance religious ostentation was the name of the game at Dolce & Gabbana this afternoon with jewel encrusted dresses emblazoned with prints of Christian saints taking the duo’s fascination with religious iconography to a new gilt-edged level. While you always expect a dose of Sicilian style piety at the label, this season’s Byzantine mosaic frescoes, chalice gems and blazing Cardinal red finale brought a gorgeously gaudy flavour to the Dolce & Gabbana temple.”
“The pair’s signature black lace provided the fabrication for several sensual dresses- but in the context of the semi-precious stone-leaden dazzlers they looked really quite restrained. Lighter white and red lace minis and oversized t-shirts teamed with high cut knickers added a youthful note to the procession. But it was the simply awe-inspiring, glistening gems and richness of the lapis lazuli and brassy gold palette that made this collection a wonder to behold,” they summed up. “When the models returned for their finale in red lace dripping in ruby jewels the audience had completed their fashion conversion en masse. This was a vision of heaven in which anyone might find succour.”
and finally–of course!–there was the iht‘s suzy menkes, rejoining that “(f)irst came figures like those in stained glass windows, with tiny gilded crowns and dresses patterned with holy figures….Then came the state: sensible suits in herringbone tweed, cut with the Dolce & Gabbana precision, the skirts falling chastely to just over the knee. The tailoring looked like something elegant but serious to wear as an elected representative of the government. The mix was already mind blowing. With a sound track from Frederico Fellini’s films and a finale of lace dresses glowing fire red, the effect was surreal. The design duo, who called the show ‘Tailored Mosaic,’ brought together beautiful pieces, like the delicate shoes intertwined with roses. By the end of the show it was clear that church had triumphed over state.” and the industry. just watch. this season, these themes will be everywhere.
(enjoy the full fashion show video here)