Dolce & Gabbana: “Thank you” read the final frame of the show-opening video that celebrated Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana’s 20 years in business. No, gentlemen, thank you. Because, but for Prada and a few other bright spots, until your wonderfully celebratory event, Milan has been Dullsville.
Dolce and Gabbana really believe that the words “fashion” and “celebration” are synonymous, and they’re not afraid to parade that belief even when the tide of cool isn’t rushing their way. “We’re not about minimalism,” Stefano Gabbana said before the show. “We’re massimalismo.”
That attitude ruled the day, and into the night, as the designers readied for their huge party at Mecenate 79, a sprawling studio on the fringe of Milan. It all started with too much frenzy, some show guests actually brought to tears by the mayhem getting into the company’s new, glitzy show digs. (Come on, guys, after 20 years, can’t you find somebody who knows how to work a door?) But whatever ill will may have simmered, it evaporated the moment the show started.
Not at all concerned about conversational inconsistencies, the Dolce & Gabbana lads have also talked about the simple life. Sometimes, Dolce said, “you want to taste a piece of bread with fresh tomatoes and basil. We wanted simplicity and to show the essence of life, but with a certain Italian style and intelligence.”
Ah, yes, bread, basil and a bevy of fresh-faced farm maidens in heat — and high chic. After the video, the stage floor rose up from below to reveal a vignette of comely, corseted babes in farmland — a sort of “Green Acres,” Italian-style, but populated only with Eva Gabors and nary a frumpola neighbor in sight. They glammed up the hayloft they shared with some well-behaved goats and a mini-coop of chickens. The first models sauntered down the runway in red sexpot regalia, all bustier-ed, frilled and gingham-ed. Then came beautiful white cottons that swung from ingénue (confection frocks) to elegance (a slender lace coat, ribbon-tied at the waist), and the blacks, divine dresses, yes, but also great suits, some inset with lace, and a keeper tweed coat. For evening, three voluminous dresses were enough to jump-start a ball gown renaissance.
This story first appeared in the September 30, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Start to finish, it all made for more fun than a hayride. But best of all — listen up, Milan — here was a feast of fabulous, interesting clothes. And rural roamings aside, they were very real clothes for women to buy, wear and feel fabulous in, in all sorts of situations. They felt like, well, fashion. Happy anniversary, boys. Here’s to the next 20.