Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana consider themselves designers as well as customer service professionals, who listen to what their clients want. These days, that doesn’t include wearing what appeals just to magazine stylists, something Dolce and Gabbana kept in mind last season while addressing the customer’s feminine wiles. And on Sunday, their practical focus fell on a woman’s masculine side with a stunning collection rooted in “sartorialità,” or tailoring, Italian-style. “Like my father used to make,” said Dolce, noting the lineup’s major attention to detail. Every seam, every button, every sleeve and shoulder impeccably finished. Gorgeously crafted jackets, a double-breasted classic, a cropped style chopped off above the waist and a subtle hourglass shape opened the show. And the dramatic finale offered 70 more examples of the finest tailoring Italy has to offer. Out marched the legion of models, each in a different black jacket — no pants to distract from the purity of their design. Thick but refined knits on straight skirts and little black jackets lined in pretty blush silk showed a soft but still pristine side to suiting. Such perfection is only achieved the old-fashioned way, through the dedication and highly skilled hands of the atelier, to whom the designers paid tribute with a video of the team hard at work in their white lab coats that screened before the show and the finale.
Of course, there was more to the collection than just jackets. A walk through the atelier the day before the presentation found a wall taped with two white pages, one printed with the word “quality,” the other “heritage” in bold black text. Across the room were more specific visual reference points: Archival photos from the early Nineties, including a shot of Linda Evangelista wearing a corset covered in gold medallions, another of Naomi Campbell smoldering in black lingerie. And at Dolce & Gabbana, a look back on house classics always leads to Sicily, where traditional black lace and widow dresses are constant inspiration. Here, they worked the former in an exquisite macramé on blouses and sheaths worn over bright silk slips. The dresses also came in wispy silks, polka dots and familiar florals, which joined leopard prints and a hefty lingerie influence in an ode to the boys’ greatest hits. It was all lovely in a way that was quiet by house standards, with the most flash owed to the aforementioned medallions. Inspired by the gold offered up in prayer to the saints, they were pinned all over bustiers, shrunken jackets and knitted bodysuits, in what seemed like a reverential nod to the house’s miraculous past.