Dolce & Gabbana: Fashion — it all started back in Eden with an acquisitive woman and the lure of the snake. Now, all these millennia later, what’s so different? Not much, according to Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who on Friday showed a terrific Dolce & Gabbana collection souped up with the help of that age-old enticing serpentine charmer.

Like others in Milan this season, the designers took their inspiration from Africa, while referencing late Seventies-era photographs by Irving Penn and, with unintentional poignancy, Richard Avedon. Along the way, they went ape over snake, working it the way Gap works khaki. That is to say, they made it the core of their collection, so much so that it’s unlikely any true Dolce girl will greet the spring sans at least a pinch of python. Certainly she’ll have plenty from which to choose, from the high-heat corset dress in which Naomi Campbell opened the show, to more versatile coats and skirts worked at least partially in snake, to wild new versions of the ornamented jeans the designers love, to a bounty of spectacular bags and shoes. And heavy-handed though it sounds, Dolce and Gabbana made it all utterly chic.

Chic, of course, in that high-heat manner intrinsic to everything these designers do. “Sexissimo!” Gabbana proclaimed the dominant look, while a T-shirt boasted, “Luxe is More.” And so it was — in both cases, as the pair reveled in lace, croc, denim, feathers, tweeds, animal prints and the novelty du jour, raffia, all combined to provocative effect.

Evening featured a dazzlingly diverse brigade from goddess gowns to glitter hearts a-go-go. And for all the sex, embellishment and material exotica, the collection delivered a certain polish, even refinement, while it radiated heat. Now that’s a trip worth taking.

Jil Sander: Though Jil Sander is in her third return-engagement season, in a way, the collection she showed on Friday felt like her true comeback; a spectacular effort in which she argued staunchly yet serenely for honest calm in a visual storm.

Diversity is the spice of fashion, yet who wouldn’t agree that the past few seasons have offered too much sameness? How lucky to have Sander back and in gloriously top form to provide a genuine, chic alternative this season to the widespread, deliberate exotica sweeping Milan. Her relaxed reserve felt as welcome as a breeze in August. Sander’s return has been marked by a newly softened aesthetic, and here it felt completely resolved, without a trace of phoniness. Thus, she built the collection around the idea of a man’s shirt — simple, unpretentious and clean. She opened with a group of soothing blue and white that transported one instantly to a dream version of the ideal summer day, with everyone dressed crisply, yet for ease — a roller-print shirt and hip-slung skirt; sensible belted trousers with a light-as-air pullover and shirt. And as if testing her ability to keep the shirt motif special, she went on to engage in a series of manipulations, adding a tightly packed placket ruffle, or a bold block of yellow to the front.

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